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Election Candidate Wants Condom as Election Symbol

The Times of India
October 1st 2009 – An independent candidate in the October state assembly elections in Haryana, India, gave the election commission embarrassing moments by insisting that he be allotted 'condom' as a poll symbol. His agenda was to highlight the plight of sex workers, illegal flesh trade and spread of AIDS.

For one who has spent long years working for the cause of sex workers and AIDS awareness, social activist Anand Prakash Sharma’s supporters view his endeavour to walk the talk as a welcome change from the general poll rhetoric that election candidates are known to resort to.

The poll panel, though, thinks otherwise and has been trying to convince Sharma to find an alternate symbol. A local election official denied even having heard of Sharma's "unusual demand," saying, "I've come to know about it only through media. Allocating election symbols is solely the jurisdiction of election commission."

But Sharma is adamant. "I've been in touch with the returning officer for the past two months. Initially, I was told that there was a probability of including condom in the list of symbols and asked to wait. To my surprise, it's not there in the list. I had applied for condom as the preferred election symbol and would have left the space blank, but was told by officials that a blank space could lead to rejection of nomination papers," Anand Sharma said.

"Isn't it surprising that while the government is spending crores of rupees on AIDS awareness campaigns, it has failed to realize the importance of including it (condom) in the list of election symbols?" he said.