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The Commission has decided to facilitate allotment of a common symbol to the registered un-recognised parties that contest a general election from a minimum of 10% of seats in a State (Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly) six months in advance. As per the earlier provisions allotment of common symbol to registered un-recognised parties was made close to the date of notification of election. Under the amended provisions, a party can submit application seeking a common symbol any time from the date six months prior to the date of expiry of the term of the House concerned.

In the event of premature dissolution of a House, the application for common symbol can be submitted from the date of dissolution of the House. Allotment of symbol will be made as and when the application, complete in all respects, is received, and the allotment will be on ‘first-come-first-served’ basis. If applications of two parties are received on the same day, and both ask for the same symbol, the matter will be decided by draw of lots between such parties. However, in such cases, if one of the parties has sitting MP or MLA elected on the same symbol, it will get preference over the other party(ies) for allotment of the symbol.

At the time of making the application, the party has to give an undertaking that it will contest from a minimum of 10% of the constituencies in the State. In States with 40 seats or less in the Assembly, the party has to contest from a minimum of 5 seats. In the case of Lok Sabha election, in the States with less than 20 Lok Sabha seats, the party has to contest from a minimum of 2 seats. The party is required to submit the list of constituencies where it is going to contest.

If a party is submitting application before the period of three months prior to the date of expiry of the House, or within one month of dissolution a House, the party has the option of even proposing the symbols that may be allotted to it. In such case, the party has to give, for the Commission’s approval, the design and drawing of the symbol it is proposing which should not have any resemblance to a reserved or free symbol, or any religious or communal connotation or depict any bird or animal. In other cases, the choice of symbol has to be from the notified list of free symbols only.

The facility of allotment of common symbol is a one-time facility for all parties. It would be for the parties to decide at which election it wants to avail of the facility. The new provisions will come into force w.e.f. 15th July, 2013.

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