Monday, December 11, 2023

Mulayam-Akhilesh take fight over ‘cycle’ to EC

Lucknow, Jan 2 (IANS) After days of wrangling and sordid tug of war to gain control over the party and its headquarters, the two factions of Samajwadi Party are set to approach the Election Commission of India on Monday to stake claim on the party symbol ‘cycle’.

According to sources, both factions of the party — one headed by patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and other by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav — were likely to tell the ECI that they were the actual SP and furnish evidences supporting their claims.

While the Akhilesh faction was sending party national General-Secretary-turned-mentor Ram Gopal Yadav as its emissary to the poll panel, the other faction was likely see Mulayam Singh himself lead.

The party founder would be accompanied by loyal younger brother Shivpal Singh Yadav and Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, who returned mid-way from his new year family vacation in London.

Having upstaged his father and the party supremo to appoint himself as the Working National President of the party at an “emergency national convention”, Akhilesh on Sunday also replaced state unit chief Shivpal Singh with his loyalist and Member of Legislative Council Naresh Uttam.

The convention, declared illegal and unconstitutional by Mulayam Singh, also expelled Amar Singh from the party on Sunday.

Later in the day, after a brief but vocal heated exchange between Mulayam-Shivpal and Akhilesh supporters, dozens of youth leaders and party activists owing allegiance to the 43-year-old Chief Minister stormed the party headquarters at Vikramaditya Marg and took control.

Sources told IANS that soon after “taking over” the party headquarters, Akhilesh was set to drive to his father’s house but was cautioned against it as a furious Mulayam Singh refused to provide him audience.

Mulayam Singh was closeted with Shivpal Singh for hours and was said to have punched a few numbers, seeking support from the old guard and also taking “legal opinion” on the coup against him.

In the night, Mulayam Singh reportedly got high blood pressure and a team of doctors was requisitioned for a medical check up.

While the Akhilesh camp was likely to show the poll panel video recordings, papers and resolutions signed by at least 40 per cent of party workers — the number required to call an emergency convention as per its constitution — it was also relying on Ram Gopal Yadav’s skills as a man who was instrumental in drafting the constitution of the party 25 years back.

Mulayam Singh was also depending heavily on the very same constitution and the clauses within it to put forth an argument that the national convention called in haste was in contravention to the laid down rules of the party and hence anything that happened in it was invalid.

Amar Singh was also said to have used his “networking skills” to line up a battery of legal eagles and constitutional experts to pitch in for the Mulayam Singh faction.

All eyes were now on the ECI which would mull over the episode and make a call.

According to constitutional experts, in all likelihood, the poll panel could freeze the party symbol and allot new symbols to both factions to contest the state assembly polls scheduled to be held this year.

This might come as a blow to both sides as the party symbol of ‘cycle’ was a well established brand.

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