'Sugarcane farmer' election symbol dispute reaches Supreme Court, free symbol allocation policy to be reviewed

'Sugarcane farmer' election symbol dispute reaches Supreme Court, free symbol allocation policy to be reviewed
Election symbols related to farmers have a long association with Indian politics. After independence, the election symbol of the Congress was a pair of two bullocks, while the Janata Party, which formed the first non-Congress government in the country, chose 'Haldhar Kisan' as its election symbol. Now the case of allotment of 'Sugarcane Farmer' election symbol to an unrecognized political party in Tamil Nadu has reached the Supreme Court. While hearing this matter on Friday, the Supreme Court has sought a reply from the Election Commission. 
There is a political party in Tamil Nadu – Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK). It is a Tamil nationalist party whose leader is Senthamizhan Seeman, who came into politics from films. This party has contested elections on the 'Sugarcane Farmer' election symbol. NTK got 6.58% votes in the 2021 assembly elections. But the Election Commission allotted the 'sugarcane farmer' symbol to the Karnataka based Bharatiya Praja Aikyata Party, another unrecognised party before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Objecting to this, NTK approached the top court challenging the allotment of free symbols by the the Election Commission to unrecognised political parties on first come, first served basis.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Mishra has also issued a notice to the political party which has been given the sugarcane farmer election symbol. The bench said it would review paragraph 10B (b) of the election symbols order. Under this order, there is a provision to allot free symbols to political parties and candidates.
NTK's plea against the Election Commission's policy of allotting free symbols to unrecognized political parties on a “first come, first served” basis was dismissed by the High Court. At present the hearing on this matter is before the Supreme Court. NTK says that all applications filed for allotment of free symbols should be considered by the Election Commission on equal footing. 
NTK has termed the Election Commission's policy of free symbol allocation as arbitrary and unconstitutional. The party argues that the 'Sugarcane Farmer' election symbol should be allotted to it as it has contested many elections on this symbol. NTK's support base is among those who do not like DMK and AIADMK. BJP also wants to woo these voters.

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