EC freezes LJP symbol till dispute between Chirag Paswan, Pashupati Paras factions settled 

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission on Saturday barred the Chirag Paswan and the Pashupati Kumar Paras factions from using the name of Lok Janshakti Party or its symbol ‘bungalow’ till the dispute between the rival groups is settled by the poll panel.

The commission also said that the two factions can use free symbols available to field their candidates for the bypolls to two assembly seats in Bihar in the coming days.

“Both the groups shall be known by such names by as they may choose for their respective groups, including, if they so desire, linkage with their parent party Lok Janshakti Party (LJP),” the order read.

Bypolls for the Kusheshwar Asthan and the Tarapur assembly seats in Bihar will be held on October 30.

The interim order, signed by Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and fellow Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar and Anup Chandra Pandey, covers the October 30 bypolls to 30 assembly seats and three Lok Sabha seats across India, including two assembly constituencies in Bihar.

The order would “continue till the final determination of the dispute in the matter” according to provisions of the Election Symbol (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.

The Election Commission (EC) noted that a final settlement, as demanded by one of the factions, was not possible before October 8.

The date of nomination for the bypolls started on October 1 and will close on October 8.

The poll panel said it is issuing the interim order seeking to place both the rival groups on an even keel and to protect their rights and interests.

“Neither of the two groups led by Pashupati Kumar Paras and other led by Chirag Paswan shall be permitted to use the name of the party Lok Janshakti Party. Neither of the two groups shall also be permitted to use the symbol ‘Bungalow’, reserved for Lok Janshakti Party,” the order read.

It said both the groups are free to choose the names of their liking, including, if they so desire, linkage with their parent party Lok Janshakti Party.

“Both the groups shall also be allotted such different symbols as they may choose from the list of free symbols notified by the Election Commission for the purposes of the current by-elections, including Kusheshwar Asthan and Tarapur assembly constituencies in Bihar,” the order read.

Both the groups have been directed to furnish, latest by 1 pm on Monday, October 4, the names of their groups by which they may be recognised by the commission, and the symbols which may be allotted to the candidates fielded, if any, by the respective groups.

“They may indicate the names of three free symbols, in the order of their preference, anyone of which may be allotted to their candidates by the Commission,” the EC said.

After the demise of LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan last year, his son Chirag Paswan and the late leader’s brother Paras have staked claim over the party leadership and had approached the poll panel in this regard.