In what appears to be a major blow to the United Goans democratic party (UGDP), the election commission has withdrawn the UGDP's "two leaves" symbol in view of the party's failure to comply with certain provisions of the Election Commission rules. The party has now chosen the "scissors" as the UGDP symbol for the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
It may be recalled that the election commission had de-recognised the UGDP in an order passed on January 30th 2008 thereby making it a registered unrecognised state party.
In a press conference on Wednesday, the returning officer in Goa Mr Mihir Vardhan said that after being unrecognised by the EC, the UGDP became a registered unrecognised state party. However, the party was allowed the use of the symbol for six years provided it complied with section 10(A) of Election symbol ( Recognition and Allotment) order 1968 of the commission. Under the stated rules, the party was expected to apply to the Election commission for use of the symbol within three days of the Lok Sabha election notification. However the party failed to apply to the EC thereby losing the symbol for the Lok Sabha elections 2009.
However the UGDP retains the right to contest on the "two leaves " symbol in the next six years provided it adheres to the norms prescribed by the laws of the Election commission.
According to Mr Vardhan, if the UGDP had followed the procedure then the EC would have allowed the"two leaves " symbol for this general elections. The poll panel therefore allotted a free symbol of scissors for the party because the "two leaves" symbol is not among the free symbols.
In the meanwhile, the UGDP while admitting the emotional attachment of Goans to the "two leaves" symbol, maintained that the new symbol of scissors chosen by the party is the right one and is in line with their resolve to cut the government down to size.
The two leaves symbol has been a traditional symbol for many Goans who are attached to the symbol due to the special bond that it created among Goans by the erstwhile "United Goans Party" (UGP) which was led by the charismatic Dr Jack de Sequeira, the hero of Goa's opinion poll. The "two leaves" referred fondly in konkani as the symbol of " don panna" therefore strikes a very emotional chord among senior citizens as well as common Goans who have witnessed the early post-liberation times of Goa and identify well with the symbol.
The UGDP chose this symbol for their party in the late 90's and thereby cashed on the sentiment attached to both the "part name" of "United Goans" as well as the "two leaves" or "don panna" symbol.
Interestingly, the two leaves symbol also strikes a chord in far away Jharkhand where the attachment to the "two leaves", referred by people in Jharkhand as " joda patta" ( a pair of leaves) lured some contestants to seek the two leaves symbol to contest the Jharkhand assembly elections a few years ago. Upon learning that the symbol belongs to a party from Goa did not deter these aspirants from Jharkhand and they obtained permission from Goa's UGDP to contest on the UGDP ticket in Jharkhand assembly elections in a bid to ensure that the "two leaves" symbol is somehow used to fight the elections. Eventually, three candidates were elected on the symbol and it goes on record that the United Goans democratic party (UGDP) from Goa, had three candidates in the Jharkhand assembly. Presently the UGDP has two MLA's in the Jharkhand assembly, namely JOBA MAJHI from Manoharpur constituency and BANDHU TIRKEY from Mandar constituency in Jharkhand.