Is Congress veteran a holy cow ?

| 29 September 1998 23:47 IST

The Congress is planning to seek legal protection over "misuse" of names of their veteran leaders by their rivals or defectors.

The recent Goa episode has once again prompted the Congress leaders to suggest to the Election Commission a legal remedy over it. Options are being thought over to have a legal right over certain names, which can influence or confuse the voter.

In the tourist state, a breakaway group of Congressmen named their party as the Goa Rajiv Congress, while forming a new coalition government in association with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, both known for its anti-Congress stance.

Shantaram Naik, the Goa PCC chief, has suggested two options when he recently met AICC chief Sonia Gandhi, one of which talks about a law equivalent to the patents law. "Every party should be allowed to suggest four names of their leaders which should not be used by others. They will have a patented right over it", he says.

The second option is to amend the Election Symbols Order 1968, prohibiting any political group from using name or a surname of any individual in its nomenclature. "The second suggestion is more practical", opines Naik.

According to him, Sonia is equally disturbed over her husband's name being misused by the vested interests for their selfish interest, which ultimately also hampers the party prospects. When suggested, she also pointed out at the Rajiv Tamil Congress and assured to think of a firm proposal, claims Naik.

Meanwhile, the Congress in Goa has taken up damage-control measures to revamp its mass base as the Wilfred de Souza-led Goa Rajiv Congress has caused severe damage to the two-decade strong national party. Besides splitting the party organisation at various levels, the whole Youth Congress and National Students Union of India has been merged into the GRC.

Beginning from 2 October, the local Congress is now taking up fresh membership drive, workers' meetings and training camps, which would ultimately culminate into a party conference on 21 October. But demand is also growing within the cadres to replace Naik with a capable person.

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