Voting began in India’s general election yesterday, with 840 million expected to attend polling stations over the next six weeks. Symbols adopted by the key parties include a palm, a conch, a clock and a broom…
Indian National Congress
The INC was founded in 1885 and has been in power for 54 of the 67 years since Indian Independence. The party’s original flag featured two bullocks and a plough, symbolising India’s large farming population. It was replaced with a cow and a calf under Indira Gandhi’s leadership, but this proved unpopular. The current icon, an open right hand against a tri-colour flag, was adopted in time for the 1980 elections and has been in place ever since. The hand represents strength, unity and peace [open palm symbolism?]
Bharatiya Janata Party
BJP’s symbol of a lotus against a saffron and green backdrop represents both its religious and nationalist roots. It’s the national flower of India and features heavily in Hindu legend – Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and wisdom sits upon a lotus flower and according to some legends, Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, is born from one which bloomed in goddess Vishnu’s navel.
The symbol was recently given a bolder outline to help it stand out against rival party’s motifs. As well as representing the country’s flag, the green and saffron backdrop it sits against represents courage, sacrifice and prosperity.
Bahujan Samaj Party
Bahujan Samaj’s elephant logo symbolises will power and strength. In Indian mythology it was also a symbol of luck and prosperity. Formed in 1984 to represent the interests of the country’s oppressed poor and minorities, it’s the only national political party in India to use blue as its official colour – which is thought to represent strength and was once widely worn by India’s ‘lower castes’. The colour used to be considered impure [reference?] but is now worn by the country’s national cricket and sports teams.
Nationalist Congress Party
NCP’s symbol features an analogue clock set at 10.10 against a tri-colour background.