Akhilesh wins ‘cycle’ war, blow to Mulayam

New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) The Election Commission on Monday recognized the faction led by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as the Samajwadi Party and allotted it the ‘cycle’ symbol, dealing a huge blow to Mulayam Singh Yadav.

The decision, less than a month before the staggered Uttar Pradesh assembly election starts on February 11, was first announced by Akhilesh confidant Ram Gopal Yadav.

A beaming Ram Gopal Yadav, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, urged the people of Uttar Pradesh to vote Akhilesh Yadav back to power in the coming election.

“This is a just decision,” he told the media. “The Election Commission will get the blessings of crores of people of Uttar Pradesh.”

The decision triggered wild celebrations among Akhilesh supporters in Lucknow, where the Chief Minister immediately headed to the house of his father and party founder Mulayam Singh.

The Samajwadi Party formally split on January 1 when the Akhilesh faction ousted Mulayam Singh as its President.

Both factions then petitioned the Election Commission to allot it the ‘cycle’ symbol.

After some two weeks of bitter fighting, the poll panel — which heard both versions for hours on Friday — on Monday voted in favour of Akhilesh Yadav.

Mulayam Singh, who has lost the support of the majority in the party, had been desperate to hold on to the symbol which he picked long ago.

An Election Commission official said: “The group led by Akhilesh Yadav is the Samajwadi Party and is entitled to use the ‘cycle’ symbol.”

–IANS

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