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BSP poll symbol: HC seeks written submission from party & NGO

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Delhi High Court today asked Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and an NGO, which has sought cancellation of its election symbol for installing elephant statues at public places at government expense, to submit their written arguments on whether the party obtained any unfair advantage by the constructions.

A bench of Justice Manmohan sought the written submissions on the issue whether the party obtained any unfair advantage in election by erecting the statues at state expense as this point had not been decided by the Election Commission (EC) on the NGO's plea.

"The issue has not been decided. It has to be decided first," the court said and listed the matter for hearing on October 14.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, suggested that the court may decide the issue as "there is no doubt that elephant statues were erected at state expense."

The EC had rejected the NGO's plea for cancellation of BSP's election symbol for using state funds to erect the statues, saying the then Mayawati government in UP, despite repeated requests, had not furnished the desired information about the exact number and location of statues of elephant.

Meanwhile, the counsel appearing for BSP contended that a similar issue is pending before the Supreme Court, to which Bhushan responded that the issue in the apex court pertains to "misuse" of government funds.

"Here the issue is that the symbol is giving them an unfair advantage in elections," Bhushan said.

The NGO has said BSP's symbol be cancelled as the Mayawati government had spent crores of rupees to install statues of elephant at various public places in the state.

It has claimed the model code of conduct was also violated by the party by constructing the statues at state expense.

First Published: Thu, July 31 2014. 19:52 IST