Lucknow: The real battle between the Akhilesh and Mulayam camps in the Samajwadi Party is now over the bicycle or cycle, the election symbol of the undivided party, even as some signs of a reconciliation between the two factions emerge.
After being expelled from the Samajwadi Party (SP), Akhilesh Yadav rose back to power in a highly dramatic sequence of events. Though Mulayam Singh Yadav had cancelled his expulsion and taken back Ramgopal Yadav into the party fold, too, in what could be said to be a political coup, Akhilesh’s supporters took control of the party’s head office. Thereafter, they declared Akhilesh Yadav the chief of Samajwadi Party, ousting Mulayam Singh Yadav virtually but recognising him as the “mentor”. Mulayam S Yadav rejected this resolution and called a convention of the SP on 5 January.
Mulayam Singh Yadav has claimed that he was the one who ridden the bicycle to power and hence is the rightful owner of the symbol. On his side is Amar Singh and brother Shivpal Yadav.
Mulayam Singh Yadav met with the Election Commission (EC) yesterday and staked his claim. Akhilesh Yadav’s camp represented by Ram Gopal Yadav, however, met the EC on 3 January at 11:30 am to neutralise the claim of his father’s camp.
Later in the day, with the mediation of Azam Khan, the son made a phone call to the father. Mulayam Singh then took the next flight to Lucknow accompanied by Gayatri Prajapati, a minister in Akhilesh Yadav’s government.
About 2 h into the meeting, Shivpal Yadav, whom Akhilesh had removed as the man in charge of the party in Uttar Pradesh, joined the father-son duo.
But the official position remains that both the sides are claiming the cycle symbol. The EC is, therefore, likely to freeze it. This could lead to complications for both sides. Akhilesh’s claim is backed by the fact that most of party workers and leaders are on his side as seen in the meetings that were arranged for his show of strength.
About 300 contenders are on the lists of both Akhilesh and Mulayam. They are worried about choosing sides, as facing the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly election as rivals would benefit the BJP and BSP. Most ticket aspirants in the SP are, hence, not revealing which faction they belong to.