GPP to contest Gujarat polls on cricket bat symbol

Keshubhai Patel

Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), led by BJP rebel and former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, will contest the upcoming Assembly elections on symbol of cricket bat.

In a major relief to the new entrant in the election fray, the Election Commission of India (ECI) today rejected BJP's complaint for disallowing GPP from using this symbol.

"The ECI has rejected BJP's complaint against GPP to disallow the party from using the symbol of cricket bat. GPP can fight the elections on this symbol in all Assembly seats," Additional Chief Electoral Officer Ashok Manek said.

BJP on Monday had said that it had approached the election watchdog against GPP for "violating" the pre-conditions set by it in allotting the symbol and requested the EC to allot the nascent outfit separate symbols in each constituency.

"ECI had given the symbol of (cricket) bat to GPP on the condition that it will field candidates in all 182 constituencies and submit form 'A' and 'B' required to file nomination papers of each candidate to state chief electoral officer as well as to RO of the constituency," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman had said.

Election Commission said the GPP has complied with its norms in this regard.

"GPP candidates had submitted the mandatory Form 'A' and Form 'B' to the Returning Officer (RO) and Form 'A' to the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO)," Manek said.

Reacting to BJP's charge, GPP senior vice president Suresh Mehta alleged yesterday that the ruling party was "pressurising" Returning Officers (ROs) to reject nomination papers of the party candidates.

GPP was formed in August by former BJP veteran Keshubhai Patel who fell out with chief minister Narendra Modi.

Gujarat will go to polls in two phases on December 13 and 17 and counting of votes is scheduled on December 20.

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