GUWAHATI, April 1 - Picking the right election symbol to attract voters has always been a tricky affair. And with a sharp increase in the number of Independent candidates in the forthcoming Assembly polls in the State, it has become even more tough for the Independent poll aspirants to make the right choice.
No wonder, this rookie lot more often than not comes up with some interesting symbols in a bid to catch the fancy of the electorate.
From a batsman playing an extravagant cricket shot, a hockey stick and ball, a plate containing food, an air conditioner, a dao (machete), a frock, a balloon, a helmet, an envelope, a dish antenna, a door bell, a brush, an electric pole, to a skipping rope, voters will come across many such �odd� symbols when they reach their respective polling booths to exercise their franchise in the ensuing two-phase Assembly polls in the State.
Election Commission sources informed that compared to 2011 Assembly polls, when 263 Independent candidates tried their luck in the political milieu, the number of such contestants has gone up to 497 this time. Of the 497 Independent candidates, 280 will contest in the first phase of polls on April 4.
Sources, meanwhile, informed that with 100-odd free symbols up for grab (free symbols offered by the Election Commission), cauliflower, frock, helmet, battery torch, cup and saucer, bucket, arrow and television have turned out to be the most sought after symbols.
�Even symbols of eatables, like cauliflower, coconut and green chilli have earned multiple takers,� a senior official of the State Election Commission told The Assam Tribune.
�In Indian electoral democracy, every second thing that comes to your mind has been used as a party symbol or a symbol of Independent candidates. As per the guidelines of the Election Commission of India, we offer some 100-odd symbols (also called free symbols) for Independent candidates to choose from. Everybody has his own reasoning and logic behind selecting a particular symbol, some of which appear strange. But they are within their rights to pick and choose their own symbols and at the same time, back them no matter how awkward these may appear to others,� the official said.
Among the other �odd� choices include scissors, letter box, pen stand, binocular, belt and cooking gas cylinder.