TMC(M) moves Madras High Court for allotment of bicycle symbol in 2024 general election

G.K. Vasan
| Photo Credit: L. BALACHANDAR

Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar), represented by its president and former Union Minister G.K. Vasan, has approached the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India (ECI) to allot the bicycle symbol to it during the general election this year.

In an affidavit filed in support of the writ petition, Mr. Vasan said his father G.K. Moopanar had founded the TMC(M) in 1996 after parting ways with the Indian National Congress. It was allotted the bicycle symbol on April 2, 1996 for contesting the elections.

TMC(M) not only became a registered party but also a recognised political party by the ECI when it was part of the ruling coalition in the Centre in 1996. It contested the 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2001 elections using the bicycle symbol and “won considerable number of seats.”

After the death of its founder Moopanar on August 30, 2001, Mr. Vasan took over as president in September 2001 and merged it with the Congress party in 2002. However, due to differences of opinion, he too had to part ways with the Congress to revive TMC(M) in November 2014.

Pursuant to the revival, a request was made to the ECI to allot the bicycle symbol again to TMC(M) but in vain. On February 5, 2016, the ECI rejected the request on the ground that the bicycle was a reserved symbol and asked TMC(M) to apply for the allotment of a free symbol.

The party approached the High Court in 2016 pointing out that the Telugu Desam Party and the Samajwadi Party, which had been allotted the bicycle symbol, had no presence in Tamil Nadu at all, and therefore, there would be no harm in allotting the symbol to TMC(M) too.

The High Court disposed of the writ petition on December 19, 2018 with a direction to the ECI to reconsider the party’s request. Thereafter, the ECI passed an order on March 14, 2019 agreeing to allot the bicycle symbol if TMC(M) contests in a minimum of two seats in the general election.

However, the party could not avail the benefit of the ECI’s order in the 2019 general election because it was allotted only one seat in the AIADMK-BJP alliance. Subsequently, Mr. Vasan became a Member of the Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu in 2020.

Since the Parliamentary election are due this year, the party made a representation to the ECI on February 6, 2024 for the allotment of the bicycle symbol again and moved the High Court simultaneously because the election was expected to be notified anytime now.

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