The bitter battle between father and son reached the Election Commission on Monday with Mulayam Singh Yadav staking claim on the Samajwadi Party and its election symbol — bicycle —that has high recall value. A possible freeze on it may make campaigning difficult for Akhilesh Yadav.
EC sources said Mulayam Singh conveyed emphatically that he was still the President of the party and the election symbol bicycle belongs to him. Mulayam also contested that the resolutions passed at the party convention called by party General Secretary and Convenor Ram Gopal Yadav were illegal as he had already been expelled from the party.
However, Mulayam did not file any affidavit which is needed to stake claim to the symbol, although he submitted a one-page memorandum staking claim of the party and the symbol as his property.
This has given rise to suspicion that the talk of split may turn out be a hoax as one never knows wily Mulayam’s game plan.
Mulayam went to the EC with brother Shivpal, Amar Singh and Jayaprada. He refused to meet the waiting media crew.
The poll watchdog is expected to take a decision on the matter after hearing the plea of the other warring faction.
Akhilesh’s mentor and uncle Ram Gopal Yadav, who was the architect of the Sunday coup, is expected to present Akhilesh Yadav’s claim on the party and the symbol to the EC at 11.30am on Tuesday.
Ram Gopal is also expected to present all the documents of Sunday’s party convention to prove that Akhilesh is the de jure head of the SP as he enjoys support of the majority of its elected representatives.
EC sources said that in such a scenario of a split in the party and counter claims on bicycle as “property”, the cycle may be parked by the commission until it decides the case that may take several months.
“The full commission will take a decision on the symbol after diligently considering all past cases of such splits like Congress split into Congress O and Congress I and the split in AIADMK in late 1980s,” said an Election Commission official.
Interestingly, in the Election Commission records, the ownership of the symbol lies with Mulayam Singh as it was he who filed the original documents when Samajwadi Party was founded.
In case bicycle is frozen as a symbol, then the EC will make both the warring factions choose from the inventory of over 1000 free symbols available with the EC for the purpose of elections until the commission decides who the legit owner of the bicycle symbol is.
The split may force the warring factions to use Samajwadi Party’s with suffixes like SP – M (Mulayam) and SP – A (Akhilesh).
But the bitter fight, barely days before the declaration of assembly elections is expected to jeopardise the campaign mode of both the warring factions.