Kheeru Mahto files his nomination in Hazaribagh last week. (Vishvendu Jaipuriar)
Hazaribagh, Nov. 16: State president of JD(U) Kheeru Mahto today suffered a setback after he was denied his party symbol of arrow to contest the upcoming Mandu by-election.
According to Election Commission guidelines, the JD(U), which happens to be a registered party, has to apply for its desired symbol to the panel within three days of the notification of an election. In this case, JD(U) nominee Mahto was required to apply for the party symbol by November 8, as the bypoll was notified on November 5.
Election symbols are reserved for national and state parties by the commission. However, JD(U) is neither recognised as a national nor a state party in Jharkhand.
Mahto has been allotted the inconspicuous almirah as his symbol. A former Mandu MLA, who was elected in 2004, will now be recognised as a nominee backed by JD(U).
Revealing this, deputy commissioner Manish Ranjan said that Mahto had applied to the EC for the symbol on November 11, prompting the commission to write to the state chief electoral officer, saying there was a time bar for three days to allot the desired symbol.
Mahto said that regardless of the symbol conundrum, the people would vote for him, as they wanted to elect him. “Though the arrow symbol is known to all, I have no choice but follow the directives of the Election Commission,” he added.
JD(U) state secretary Bateshwar Prasad Mehta argued that if Independent candidates could win without the help of any popular symbol, Mahto could as well, more so as he was a popular figure in the region.
Party sources, however, said it was a setback for Mahto, as he had already begun campaigning with the help of posters and pamphlets that bore the JD(U) insignia.
Ranjan added that cases of violation of model code of conduct would also be lodged against deputy superintendent of education S.D. Tigga and two candidates — Manish Jaiswal (JVM) and Bhuvaneshwar Patel of RJD.
The DC added that the trio had featured in newspaper advertisements on Tuesday on the occasion of Statehood Day without obtaining prior permission. Ranjan has served notices to the three.
He added that three candidates had withdrawn their nomination, leaving 22 in the fray. Rupan Murmu and Mukesh Kumar, both Independents, and Deo Lal Kumar of Janwadi Socialist Party withdrew their nomination today.
Ranjan also chaired a meeting with officials of the electricity department and asked them to ensure proper maintenance of overhead wires in town.