Samajwadi Party’s war moves to Election Commission for symbol

The faction war in the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh today reached the Election Commission with Mulayam Singh Yadav staking claim over the ‘cycle’ symbol, a day after he was deposed from the post of president by the group headed by his son Akhilesh Yadav.

At the same time, Mulayam cancelled the January 5 party convention called by him, apparently on fears that there could be a low turnout compared to the convention held by his son in Lucknow on Sunday.

The faction headed by Akhilesh, the Chief Minister, will also approach the EC on Tuesday to assert their right over the symbol, which is crucial for the upcoming Assembly elections. Ram Gopal Yadav is likely to represent the faction.

Election Commission sources said it is unlikely to intervene till it hears both the sides.

Mulayam reached Nirvachan Sadan here this evening along with his brother Shivpal Singh, his close confidante Amar Singh and former MP Jaya Prada to put forth his stand on the feud which has virtually split the party he had founded 25 years ago.

“I am still the president of Samajwadi Party and the decision of the rival camp to appoint Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as the party chief is against party’s constitution,” Mulayam told the full Election Commission.

Claiming to have the backing of the SP Parliamentary Board, he said the party symbol ‘cycle’ belongs to him as he is the party president, sources said.

Mulayam told the Commission that Ram Gopal Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav who had moved a resolution at an emergency convention of SP in Lucknow on Friday last anointing Akhilesh as party president, had been expelled from the party and was not authorised to take any decision regarding SP, the sources said.

Mulayam said the convention of the rival camp, which passed a resolution to anoint Akhilesh as the new party chief, passed no resolution removing him (Mulayam) from the post.

He said as per the SP’s constitution, such a decision needs the backing of the Parliamentary Board, which was absent.

Sources in the Commission said it will follow Paragraph 15 of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 to proceed on the dispute. It gives power to the Commission “in relation to splinter groups or rival sections of a recognised political party”.

“Both the sides will have to stake claim over the symbol otherwise how would EC know that there is a dispute…We don’t go by media reports,” said an EC official.

The Commission could ask both sides to pick a new party name and symbol in the interim if the existing symbol ‘cycle’ is frozen.

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