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Congress opposes PIL against opposition alliance use of ‘INDIA’ acronym

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New Delhi, April 9:  Congress, through its affidavit, has firmly opposed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed before the Delhi High Court, seeking direction to stop using the acronym INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance) for their bloc.

The Delhi High Court on April 2 granted the last chance to several opposition parties including the Congress, TMC and the DMK to respond within a week to the PIL by businessman Girish Bharadwaj, aiming for resolution before the first phase of the Lok Sabha election scheduled for April 19.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora will hear the matter on April 10.

In its affidavit, Congress labelled the PIL as politically motivated and lacking in substance.

The affidavit stated that the PIL was devoid of concrete examples or evidence to substantiate its allegations against Congress or its alliance partners.

Moreover, it accused the petitioner of deliberately concealing their close association with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a right-wing organisation linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Pointing to the petitioner’s political affiliations, the affidavit argued that the PIL was filed with the ulterior motive of advancing political agendas rather than addressing genuine public interest concerns.

It dismissed the petitioner’s claims of violations under the Emblem Act, saying that no evidence was provided to support such allegations.

Furthermore, Congress said that the petitioner failed to demonstrate any harm caused by the alliance’s use of the “I.N.D.I.A” acronym or cite any legal provisions prohibiting its adoption by opposition parties.

The response pointed out the absence of grounds for the court to intervene in the matter, characterising the PIL as frivolous and politically driven.

The Election Commission (EC) had earlier filed its counter affidavit and said that it cannot regulate political alliances under the Representation of People Act.

It is Bharadwaj’s case that the acronym has been used only to take undue advantages in the upcoming general elections in 2024.

“…practice of using the acronym I.N.D.I.A. (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance)/INDIA of respondent political parties are only to attract and gain sympathy and votes of the innocent citizen and to use as a tool for political benefit and also to give a nudge or a spark which may lead to political hatred which eventually will lead to political violence,” the PIL claims.

Citing alleged violation of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, and relevant Rules, Bharadwaj has said that the acronym being the essential part of the national emblem cannot be used for any professional, commercial purpose, and political purpose.

“…the selfish act of these political parties may adversely affect the peaceful, transparent and fair casting of votes during the upcoming general election of 2024 which may expose the citizens to unwarranted violence and also affect the law and order of the country,” the plea reads.

IANS

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