Why Nitish Kumar's Party Wants To Dump The Arrow For A New Symbol

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Why Nitish Kumar's Party Wants To Dump The Arrow For A New Symbol

The Janata Dal , said sources, is looking at contesting elections in these states - Assam, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, West Bengal and Kerala.

Patna:  Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United wants a new election symbol as it seeks to extend its Bihar success outside the state.

Party leaders reportedly believe that the JDU's current symbol, an arrow, is confusing voters. The party plans to meet the Election Commission after the Makar Sankranti festival on January 15, to submit a list of its choice of symbols to replace the arrow ahead of crucial assembly elections in five states this year.  

The Janata Dal , said sources, is looking at contesting elections in these states - Assam, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, West Bengal and Kerala - as part of alliances of anti-BJP parties on the lines of its Grand Coalition, that swept the Bihar elections in November last year.

JDU sources said the party has zeroed in on a tree, a farmer wielding a plough or a hut as the symbols it would like most. It had wanted to get the "wheel" symbol of the now disbanded Janata Dal, but is not sure whether the other splinter group, Karnataka-based Janata Dal (Secular) of former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, would agree to that.

At an earlier meeting soon after the Bihar elections, the Election Commission is said to have told the JD(U) that it can have the wheel if the JD(S) has no objections.

Of its other choices, while the banyan tree was the symbol of the Samyukta Socialist Party, the Praja Socialist Party had used a hut as a symbol; both these parties were part of what is called the larger Janata Parivar or family at some point.

The JD(U) reportedly hopes to have a new symbol by the end of January. Its hunt is reportedly based on the feeling that the JDU needs a symbol that people can identify with better. Also, party leaders feel that the JD(U)'s arrow is quite similar to the bow and arrow symbol used by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the Shiv Sena.

At its national executive meeting on December 20-21, last year, the party had passed a resolution that said, "Janata Dal is deeply concerned about its election symbol, which had similarity with election symbols of other political parties in the recently completed assembly election."

Party leaders reportedly believe that the JD(U) lost a number of seats in Bihar in the November assembly elections because of the confusion.

Even so, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's party won only a few seats less than partner Lalu Yadav's RJD. The coalition, which includes the Congress, won a two-thirds majority in Bihar, handing the BJP a humiliating defeat.

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