EC reserves decision on ‘cycle’, to announce on Monday (Roundup)

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) The Election Commission on Friday reserved its verdict on the demand for ‘cycle’ symbol by the two warring factions of the Samajwadi Party, and is expected to announce its decision on Monday.

“The commission reserved its order today (Friday). It will decide on the party’s election symbol on Monday,” Gauri Neo Rampal, lawyer of Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav, told IANS after a hearing at the Election Commission.

The Commission declined to make any comments now, she said.

Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav have been asserting their respective claims over the party’s election symbol ‘cycle’.

Mulayam Singh has been insisting on his right to the symbol being the party founder and also its “present president”. Akhilesh was appointed the “President” of the party at an “emergency national convention” called on January 1 in Lucknow. The meeting was convened by Akhilesh’s confidante and Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav.

The Akhilesh-led faction has been claiming ownership to the symbol, saying that it enjoyed the support of the majority of the party’s members of Parliament and the legislators.

Giving an account of the hearing on Friday, Rampal said: “Mulayamji said that he is the legal President of the party since the beginning. So, no one can remove him from the position by holding illegal or invalid conferences.”

The lawyer said that Mulayam Singh told the commission that he is the incumbent President of the party as per its constitution.

Rampal also said that Kapil Sibal, who represented Mulayam’s son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav at the hearing, told Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi that it is Akhilesh’s party.

After the hearing at the commission, Sibal too told reporters that the EC has heard both factions and has reserved its verdict as to whom to allot the party election symbol ‘cycle’.

The hearing on Friday lasted for over four hours.

According to party sources, the entire hearing went on in a smooth way.

The Mulayam-led faction had approached the EC on January 2. The Akhilesh-led faction led by Ram Gopal Yadav approached the commission on January 3.

Earlier on Friday, Akhilesh-led faction asserted that it was confident of getting the party symbol ‘cycle’.

“Our advocate Sibal has presented our case before Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi. He has informed the poll panel that majority of the MPs and MLAs of the party are with Akhilesh so the ‘cycle’ symbol should be given to us,” Suman Raghav, the Chief Minister’s advocate, told IANS.

“We are confident that the decision will be in our favour,” Raghav said.

While Akhilesh did not come here for the hearing, the Chief Minister’s lieutenants Ram Gopal Yadav, Naresh Agrawal, Kiranmoy Nanda and Neeraj Shekhar were present.

Mulayam was accompanied by his brother Shivpal Yadav, Ashu Malik and Sanjay Seth.

The EC had summoned both the factions for talks over the symbol row.

–IANS

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