Is the hand in Congress’s election symbol taken from Islam?

Right wing misinformation claims the iconic election symbol was inspired from Islam but it was actually inspired from Hemambika Temple in Kerala.


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.

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Congress’ election symbol has been the palm of the hand for several years now. Many can’t even associate any other symbol for the Indian National Congress. Now, several users in social media are claiming that the election symbol of Congress is inspired from Islam and share an image of a hand, that appears to be made of gold, with some Arabic inscriptions written on them. Some of these posts specify that Muslims are aware of this but Hindus are not. This comes on the back of a narrative that Congress is a party of, by and for the Muslims by the far-right Hindu Nationalist organisations.  Similar posts can be seen here, here and here.

What’s the truth?

Congress and its election symbols:

Two bullocks:

The symbol of Indian National Congress in the first ever general election in the Independent India was ‘two bulls’ or ‘two oxen’ walking together. This was the symbol used by Indian National Congress from 1952 to 1969.

Cow and a calf:

In 1969, Indira Gandhi was expelled from the party due to internal power struggle leading to a split in the party. Out of the 429 MPs from the Congress party at that time, 310 MPs sided with Indira Gandhi which subsequently led to the formation of Indian National Congress (R) or simply Congress (R) with the R standing for Requisitionists. The other faction led by K.Kamaraj which was called Indian National Congress (O) or simply Congress (O) with O standing for Organisation. After this split, Congress (R) led by Indira Gandhi was allotted ‘a cow feeding a calf’ as its election symbol by the Election commission. This was used till 1977.


In 1977, another similar split in the Congress (R) led to formation of Congress (I) with I standing for Indira. This new party was allotted the current palm or hand symbol by the Election Commission. By the time of 1984 elections, Congress (I) was recognised by the Election Commission as the ‘real’ Indian National Congress and the party retained its Hand symbol.

Hand symbol for the Forward Bloc:

Interestingly, the hand symbol was allotted to the Forward Bloc (Ruikar Group) in 1951 which was formed in 1948 after the split in the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) spearheaded by Ramchandra Sakharam Ruikar. The party was later merged with the other faction of the Forward Bloc in 1951 to form the unified Forward Bloc.

How hand symbol came to Congress party:

According to a book ‘24 Akbar Road’ written by Rasheed Kidwai; Buta Singh, the then General Secretary of Indira Gandhi’s party, petitioned the Election Commission for a symbol for their newly found party after the split in 1977. A request was made for the ‘cow and calf’ symbol but since that was frozen by the Election Commission, it offered 3 choices: elephant, bicycle and an open palm (hand). The book narrates the incident when Buta Singh made a trunk call to Indira Gandhi, who was in Vijayawada at that time, to seek her opinion. The call resulted in a ‘comedy of errors’ and finally the open palm (hand) symbol was chosen.

Indira Gandhi and her faith in Hemambika:

In our search, we also found an article from Dainik Bhaskar. According to the article, Indira Gandhi chose the Hand symbol keeping the Hemambika Temple in Mind. Hemambika Temple is in Palakkad District of Kerala.

Digvijaya Singh, Former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and former General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee, reposted the article by Dainik Baskar and termed it as ‘historical truth’.

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Another article from Kerala Kaumudi had also reported on similar lines that Indira Gandhi was inspired by the Hemambika Temple to choose her party symbol.

Though there are religious significance in Islam for the hand symbol, there is no proof to suggest that the Congress Party has adopted the Islamic symbol as its electoral sign.


The claims that Congress choose the Hand symbol because it is a significant religious symbol in Islam is false. Indira Gandhi was inspired by the Hemambika Temple which has two open palms in her choice of electoral symbol from the options given to her by the Election Commission of India.

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