War over ‘cycle’ as Mulayam knocks EC’s door (Roundup)

New Delhi/Lucknow, Jan 2 (IANS) The ugly battle raged on Monday in Uttar Pradeshs ruling Samajwadi Party with party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav approaching the Election Commission to secure his right over its election symbol “cycle”.

A day after being dethroned as the Samajwadi Party national president by his warring son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam Singh insisted the party belonged to him and declared the action against him unconstitutional.

“Samajwadi Party’s election symbol is my signature,” he said in Lucknow.

Accompanied by his brother Shivpal Yadav, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh and actress-turned politician Jaya Prada, Mulayam Singh met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi in the national capital.

The meeting lasted around 30 minutes where Mulayam Singh, as the party founder, is said to have asserted his right over the election symbol.

While Mulayam Singh and his aides were tight-lipped about the meeting, informed sources said he discussed party constitution with Zaidi, claiming he was still the party president.

Mulayam Singh is also said to have argued that the convention called in Lucknow by Akhilesh supporters violated the party rules and hence anything that happened at the meeting was invalid.

He also cancelled a national convention called by him on January 5.

Meanwhile, the Akhilesh camp will be sending its General Secretary-turned-mentor Ram Gopal Yadav as its emissary to the poll panel on Tuesday.

Mulayam confidant Amar Singh appeared unfazed by his “expulsion” from the party by Akhilesh Yadav and insisted his allegiance to Mulayam Singh.

“I was with Mulayam and will remain with him. My association with him made me a hero and if needed I can become a villian also,” he said.

Amid the tug of war between the father and son, a group of party activists gathered outside Mulayam Singh’s residence here, raised slogans in his support and sought unification of the party.

The supporters, however, did not raise slogans against Akhilesh Yadav or Ram Gopal Yadav. Instead, they urged Mulayam Singh to make Akhilesh Yadav the face of the election campaign.

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

This might come as a blow to both sides as the symbol “cycle” is a well established brand.

At a convention held in Lucknow on Sunday, Akhilesh Yadav annointed himself the Samajwadi Party President and said Mulayam Singh would remain a “Marg Darshak”.

The Akhilesh camp also named a new state unit chief in place of Shivpal Yadav and sacked Amar Singh, who the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has repeatedly dubbed a “dalal”.

The open rebellion prompted Mulayam Singh to again sack Ram Gopal Yadav from the Samajwadi Party. Both Ram Gopal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav had been sacked on Friday too but were taken back a day later.

–IANS

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