With some of the RPI candidates contesting BMC election on different election symbols, candidates feel that it will affect Sena-BJP-RPI's vote bank; Athawale unfazed
With civic elections around the corner, the RPI (A), an alliance partner of Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), haven't managed to secure a common election symbol for its 29 candidates. While RPI chief Ramdas Athawale had selected cup and saucer, the party was denied the symbol, as it isn't registered on a national level, informed a senior Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official.

Whatever: BMC's assistant election officer has confirmed that the RPI
candidates have been allotted different symbols. File pic

The official said, "A common symbol is given to only those parties that get themselves registered on a national level. Hence, even Mumbai 227 did not get a common symbol, and all its candidates are now contesting the upcoming BMC election on different symbols." BMC's assistant election officer Ramesh Arote confirmed that the RPI candidates have been allotted different symbols.

While most of the 29 candidates have secured cup and saucer as their election symbol, the remaining ones, will be contesting with either kite or coconut as their symbol.

Mixed reactions
Rajesh Thakur, an RPI candidate, who is contesting from ward no 133, said, "My election symbol is coconut, and it will be difficult for the voters to identify me. Athawaleji had written to the election commission for granting all RPI candidates a uniform symbol, but it didn't work out. I am going ahead with my door-to-door campaign, so that the voters know who I am and what my symbol is."

Satish Chavan and Sunita Chavan, who are contesting from ward no 145 and have got cup and saucer as their symbol, said, "Most of us have got cup and saucer, and it is becoming well-known among the masses," said Satish Chavan.

'Could spell doom'
Stating that different symbols could prove fatal for the Sena-BJP-RPI alliance, a senior leader from Sena said, "The voters will get confused while voting for one of our candidates if they don't find the cup and saucer icon on the voting machine. They might end up casting their vote for some other party."

'It doesn't matter'
Stating that the difference of symbols will not dent the alliance's vote bank, Athawale said, "Other than a couple of our candidates, most of them have been allotted the same symbol (cup and saucer). This will neither affect us, or the alliance, as our candidates have been campaigning quite strongly and are known faces in their respective wards. Also, Sena and BJP supporters will be campaigning for the candidates in their areas too, which will prove quite helpful."

Raj Purohit, BJP city chief, said, "To avoid confusion, party workers will ensure that election symbol is circulated in every home in their respective wards, and it will work."