HYDERABAD: The Election Commission (EC) has removed autorickshaw, truck, hat and iron box from the list of 'free symbols' in Telangana state. The EC issued a gazette notification to this effect on Saturday.
The TRS had earlier submitted a representation to the EC not to allot autorickshaw, truck, iron box symbols to 'independents' or small political parties, arguing that these symbols resemble TRS' 'car' symbol and causing confusion among voters due to which it lost a few seats in the 2018 Assembly polls as well as Dubbak Assembly seat in the bypoll in November 2020.
In the 2018 Assembly polls, the EC allotted truck symbol to Samajwadi Forward Bloc candidates. These candidates secured thousands of votes in a few constituencies and in some cases more than major political parties, the BJP, the CPI, the CPM and the TD etc.
The TRS claimed that their victory margin in several constituencies came down and also their candidates faced defeat in a few seats as voters, especially uneducated and senior citizens with eyesight problems, got confused with the truck symbol with car and voted for Samajwadi candidates.
In Dubbak bypoll, Bandaru Nagaraju, an independent candidate who was allotted a "rolling pin with board" symbol, polled 3,570 votes. He was also polled 60 ballot votes. The TRS claimed that this symbol had a striking resemblance to the car symbol on EVMs and ballot papers due to which it lost the seat to the BJP by a slender margin of 1,431 votes.
The Telangana State Election Commission (TSEC) has also removed these symbols from the 'free symbols' list in the elections held for municipalities and municipal corporations between 2019 and 2021.