12 ZPs in 2010 poll: Can Congress do better this time?

In previous panchayat polls, Cong won just 12 of the 30 zilla panchayats whereas BJP and JD(S) held power in 14 and 4 ZPs, respectively.

Bengaluru: Jubilant over the recent victory in the Legislative Council polls, the Congress has a tough task ahead in improving its tally in ZP and TP polls to be held on February 13 and 20.

In previous panchayat polls, Cong won just 12 of the 30 zilla panchayats whereas BJP and JD(S) held power in 14 and 4 ZPs, respectively.

Much water has flowed under the bridge since 2010 when the panchayat polls were held. The Congress which was in the opposition then, is now in power. The BJP, which had bagged 14 ZPs then, is now in the opposition. The position of JD(S) is not too good. This time, elections are being held only in 26 ZPs since the court had stayed the election process in Vijayapura, Bidar, Kalaburagi and Raichur following a bunch of petitions filed questioning reservation. Leaders in the Congress admit that the situation was not rosy, thanks to the discontent among legislators over the delay in Cabinet expansion/reshuffle and appointment to various boards and corporations. Having understood this, CM Siddaramaiah is learnt to have decided to make the results of the ZP, TP polls a benchmark for legislators to seek Cabinet berth. Naturally, this had made legislators unhappy over new conditions being put to extract work from them without any rewards.

The ZP/TP polls will be a real test for Home Minister Dr G. Parameshwar, who had been given additional responsibility of Chikkamagaluru district much against his wishes. Chikkamagaluru has been a bastion of the BJP with Dr Parameshwar not having the fortune of spending much time in the district to change the fortunes of the Congress.

Likewise, Animal Husbandry Minister A. Manju, who claimed a big victory in the recent Council polls, has a tough task ahead dismantling the strong fortress of Janata Dal (S).

Razor, boot, syringe! No dearth of symbols
The razor, boot, slipper, scissors, green chilli and syringe are a few among the free symbols available for independent candidates who want to contest the coming Zilla Panchayat and Taluk Panchayat polls.

The Election Commssion of India has published a list of 108 symbols for candidates to pick their choice. The majority are common symbols like iron box, stool, biscuit, refrigerator, camera and pot while some are uncommon. They include green chilli, cutting plier, door bell, frock, funnel, lady’s finger, peas, saw, safety pin, syringe, tea filter, plate containing food, pen nib with seven rays, frying pan, chappati roller and cake.

An official of the Election Commission told Deccan Chronicle that there are three categories of symbols. While the first category is permanently allotted to national recognised parties, the second category is given to state recognised parties and the third category to independent candidates. The ECI has a book of symbols which are reviewed during general elections. It can change the symbols, if it wishes.

The officer said the symbols have to be secular and should not hurt the feelings of any particular caste or community. Hence, the ECI will have to be careful while picking the symbols. Citizens have a right to suggest to the ECI on including or excluding any symbol which will be reviewed by a committee of officials before finalising it. Printing problem: Another big problem is printing certain symbols. As per ECI rules, the symbols should not only be bold and visible but should be identifiable by voters. Certain symbols don't look clear and bright after printing on the list of candidates pasted on the election voting machine.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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