In a last minute decision, the Palghar returning officer on Saturday cancelled the whistle symbol of the Bahujan Vikas Aghadi - a constituent of the United Progressive Alliance - and allotted it the autorickshaw.
"Yes, we were allotted the new election symbol at 12.30 a.m. today. But we have decided not to challenge the Palghar Collector's decision in court. It is actually working to our advantage," BVA Convenor and Organising Secretary Ajiv Patil told IANS.
He accused the ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party combine of "playing dirty politics and pressuring the authorities" to get the BVA's 20-year-old whistle symbol cancelled, just 15 days before polls in Palghar (reserved for ST) on April 29 in the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha polls.
According to Patil, in order to deprive the BVA of its whistle symbol which belonged to an ex-ally Bahujan Maha Party, the Sena-BJP allegedly resorted to manipulation and interference, but now the new symbol has back-fired on their mischievous plans.
"But we are not dismayed. There are around 33,000 autorickshaws in the district and our symbol is a part of the daily life of each and every ordinary voter, reaching even the remotest areas, where the whistle would not have sounded," he said.
Patil contended that since they are a district-based party, the BVA - which has three legislators in Maharashtra and many elected leaders in civic bodies - will make their new symbol familiar to the electorate with the use of social media and mobile technology.
He expressed confidence that by Monday, the nearly 16 lakh voters would be "absolutely familiar" with the symbol of the autorickshaw, which is the common man's vehicle and visible everywhere 24x7.
Usually, for any political party, depending on its reach, it can take several months or even years before its symbol is recognizable and associated with that party, as the 'hand' of the Congress, 'lotus' of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the 'clock' of the Nationalist Congress Party, etc. in the public domain.
Earlier, the BVA - founded by Hitendra Thakur, had fought elections on the Congress symbol, and later it was allotted the spectacle symbol, then the whistle, and now the autorickshaw.
There are a total of 12 candidates including five Independents in the fray for Palghar.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)