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HomeFact CheckCongress Poll Symbol Traces Back To Islamic Iconography? Here’s The Truth

Congress Poll Symbol Traces Back To Islamic Iconography? Here’s The Truth

Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
Congress party modelled its election symbol based on Islamic symbol.

Fact
No, the Congress party was allotted the current palm or hand symbol by the Election Commission and has no connection with any Islamic symbol/iconography.

Several users on social media are sharing a post, showing an image of a decorative model of a hand, made of gold and adorned with Arabic calligraphy, along with the Congress’s poll symbol, asserting that the grand old party’s election symbol was purportedly inspired by Islamic faith.

The caption of one such post reads, “Gaddar Khangress, Made this symbol of Islam as its election symbol. 99% of Hindus are not aware of this even today, whereas 99% of Muslims know this from the beginning. But no one tells that because Hindus might stop voting for Congress.” | Archived Post

Similar X posts can be seen herehere and here.

The post has also been shared by various users on Facebook. They can be viewed by clicking here and here respectively.

Fact Check / Verification

To find the fact behind the viral claim, we conducted keyword searches on Google with the terms, “election symbol” and “history of Congress symbol”. This leads us to an order by the Election Commission of India in 2017 with the title – THE ELECTION SYMBOLS (RESERVATION AND ALLOTMENT) ORDER, 1968. On page no 8 and 10 of the order, it is mentioned that the symbols proposed by the parties shall have no resemblance to the existing reserved symbols or free symbols, nor shall have any religious or communal connotation or depict any bird or animal.

This makes it clear that the election symbol of Congress has no religious connotation to it. We found a report titled Indian political party election symbols from 1951: When Congress had bullocks and the hand was Forward Bloc‘s, by News18.  which revealed that the Indian National Congress was allotted the symbol of ‘two bulls’ or ‘two oxen’ walking in tandem during the first general election of India.

We also found another report on The Times of India, published on April 5, 2019, which said that between 1952 and 1969, the symbol for the Congress party was two bullocks yoked together. However, when Indira Gandhi started her own faction INC (R) after being expelled from the party by Congress President S. Nijalingappa, the symbol changed to a cow with a suckling calf. Meanwhile, the “Old Congress,” which had limited support, with only a few Members of Parliament, retained the symbol of two bullocks with a yoke. The current symbol of the party, the hand, was first used by Indira Gandhi after she split from the Congress (R) faction following the 1977 elections, creating the new Congress (I).

We also found another report by The Wall Street Journal, which relayed the same information.

The report further said that in 1951, the All India Forward Bloc (Ruikar Group) adopted the hand symbol, later refined by the Akali Dal in 1962. Initially distinct, with parted fingers and a longer lifeline, it evolved to its current form. Not until the late 1970s did it become the Congress symbol. Ahead of the 1980 elections, Indira Gandhi, advised by party officials, chose between the hand and the elephant—both then “free symbols.” The Election Commission, managing the symbols, had frozen the Congress’s previous symbol (cow and calf). Mrs. Gandhi however opted for the hand, as recounted by journalist Rasheed Kidwai in “24 Akbar Road.”

Similar information has been reported by NDTV and The Times of India as well.

Conclusion

The claim that the hand symbol of the Congress party has origins in Islamic iconography is FALSE.

Result: False

Our Sources:
1. Report published by News18, dated 04 April, 2014
2. Order by the Election Commission of India
3. Report published by The Times of Inda, dated 05 April, 2019
4. Report published by The Wall Street Journal, dated 28 March, 2012
5. Report published by NDTV, dated 22 December, 2010


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Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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