Election Commission explains why it gave the ‘Cycle’ to Akhilesh Yadav’s faction

Election Commission explains why it gave the ‘Cycle’ to Akhilesh Yadav’s faction

NEW DELHI (INDIA):Dealing a severe blow to Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Election Commission (EC) today gave the symbol ‘Bicycle’ to the faction headed by Akhilesh Yadav, recognising it as the Samajwadi Party that came as a major boost to the Chief Minister ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.nnA mere look at the figures of supporting MLAs, MLCs and MPs, National Executive members and National Convention delegates “will evidently demonstrate that Shri Akhilesh Yadav enjoys overwhelming majority support, both among the organisational and legislative wing of the party”, the EC said in its order that was reserved on Friday.nnThe verdict by the three-member Election Commission headed by Nasim Zaidi came on the eve of the filing of nominations when parties will have to give the requisite forms authorising use of symbol to contest the elections.nnThe EC had reserved the order on January 13 after hearing both the sides for over five hours.nnThe order set off jubilation in the Chief Minister’s camp with hordes of supporters marching to his residence and breaking into celebrations, bursting fire crackers and dancing to the beat of drums.nnWelcoming the decision, SP General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav, Akhilesh’s uncle and the main strategist of his group, expressed the hope that a grand secular alliance will be formed to fight the elections, an apparent reference to a tie-up with Congress and some other outfits.nn”As a logical consequence of the above finding and applying the test of majority approved by the Supreme Court in the case of Sadiq Ali and consistently applied by the Commission thereafter in all cases of disputes in recognised political parties arising before it from time to time for determination in terms of para 15 of the Symbols Order, the Commission hereby answers the issue number 2 by holding that the group led by Shri Akhilesh Yadav is the Samajwadi Party and is entitled to use its name and its reserved symbol ‘Bicycle’ for the purposes of Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment Order, 1968),” the EC said in its 46-page order.nnThe Commission noted that Akhilesh’s faction had filed the affidavits of 205 of the 228 MLAs, 56 out of 68 MLCs, 15 out of 24 MPs, 28 out of 46 National Executive members and 4400 out of 5731 National Convention delegates which accounted for total delegates of 4716 out of 5731.nnThe order said Mulayam Singh’s side did not file any affidavit of MPs or MLAs or any delegates claiming allegiance to it with the SP supremo maintaining that there was no split in the party needing determination of a dispute.nnHailing as “just”, the Election Commission verdict recognising the Akhilesh Yadav faction as Samajwadi Party and allotting it the reserved symbol ‘bicyle’, Ramgopal Yadav said he was “hopeful” the party will forge an alliance with Congress for the high-stakes Uttar Pradesh elections.nnSpeaking to reporters immediately after the Commission’s decision, SP General Secretary Ramgopal Yadav urged party men to work harder now to ensure see the young leader gets another term as the Chief Minister.nn”We are thankful to the EC, it has given a just order. I congratulate workers and leaders of Samajwadi Party and urge them to work towards electing Akhilesh as Chief Minister yet another time,” Yadav, who has been a staunch supporter of the Chief Minister through the intra-party conflict, said.nnRamgopal said the final decision regarding forging alliance with Congress will be taken by Akhilesh, but he expressed hopes that it will happen.nn”It is Akhilesh Yadav who will decide on the alliance. But I am hopeful it will happen,” he added. The SP general secretary also said the list of party candidates will be released in a day or two.nnIn a major boost to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the Election Commission today recognised the faction headed by him as the Samajwadi Party and alloted the reserved symbol ‘bicycle’ to it for contesting the coming Assembly elections.nnThe group led by Akhilesh Yadav is the Samajwadi Party and is entitled to use its name and reserved symbol Bicycle, the three-member Election Commission headed by Nasim Zaidi said in its order.nnThe Commission referred to a contention by Mulayam’s side that the affidavits filed by Akhilesh’s group do not contain averment that they were sworn without any fear, favour or influence as needed and said except for the “above vague allegation”, the group did not file any affidavit from any member despite repeated opportunities given to it.nn”… Neither filed any affidavit from any member nor indicated even the name of one member whose affidavit was considered by him to be suspect or questioned the above numbers claimed by Shri Ram Gopal Yadav either on 13 January, 2017 at the time of hearing or at any time thereafter,” the order said.nnIt also mentioned that while the counsel for the Mulayam group wanted to make a mountain of a molehill by referring to a typographical mistake in the affidavits of the Akhilesh group, the counsel had no reply when it was pointed out that its leader Amar Singh had said in the concluding para of his affidavit that “I refute my point on the illegibility of January 1, 2017 convention of Samajwadi Party and unconstitutionality of their resolution thereby.nnThe seven-phased polls in the state begin on February 11.nnThe order came within a fortnight of Akhilesh being anointed the national president of the party.nnA jubilant Ramgopal Yadav said the EC took the right decision as the Mulayam camp did not have any supporting documents to claim symbol and party name.nn”The Chief Minister is very happy,” he said. About party’s plans for an alliance with Congress in the state for the coming elections, he said, “The party president will be deciding it. I hope it will happen.” As soon as he got the news, Akhilesh went to meet his father to seek his blessings.nnInterestingly, the EC announcement came hours after Akhilesh supporters put up his brand new name plate at the SP headquarters that read “Akhilesh Yadav, Party President” strategically positioned directly under his father’s nameplate which mentions Mulayam as “Party President”.nnMulyaam finally loses the CyclennA little over 25 years after Mulayam Singh Yadav founded the Samajwadi Party, he lost control over it today after the Election Commission recognised his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister as its president and allowed him to retain the ‘bicycle’ symbol. The body blow for the socialist leader came 72 days after the party he floated and nurtured celebrated its silver jubilee on November 5 amid continued tension with Akhilesh.nnBarely three weeks later, the Akhilesh Yadav camp held a national convention where the 43-year-old leader was anointed the national president of the party founded by his father replacing him.nnSamajwadi Party was one of several parties which emerged after the Janata Dal got fragmented in the early 1990s.nnSP, which is primarily an Uttar Pradesh-based party contested Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections around the country, but its successes have largely been limited to the state.nnIn the assembly election in Madhya Pradesh in 2003, the SP won seven seats, making it the third largest party in the state.nnIn the 2012 assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, it registered a landslide and formed the government.nnIt would have been a 5th term for Mulayam Singh Yadav as Chief Minister of state, but he surprised everyone by nominating his son Akhilesh to the coveted position.nnSamajawadi Party supported to the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.nnIt had contested the 2009 general election in alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal and Lok Janshakti Party of Bihar. In the last general election, Samajwadi Party was convincingly defeated by the BJP and its allies in Uttar Pradesh which together won 73 of the state’s 80 Lok Sabha seats.SP, before today’s poll panel order, was the 13th largest party in Parliament.nnIn the last Lok Sabha polls in 2014, it won only 5 seats. All winning candidates belonged to Mulayam’s family. West Bengal Socialist Party of Kiranmoy Nanda merged with SP, which has two MLAs in Bihar and one each in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal. Nanda had presided over the December 1 convention which anointed Akhilesh as new Samajwadi Party president in place of Mulayam.nnThere was simmering discontent within the ruling family ever since Akhilesh became the Chief Minister. Mulayam’s younger brother Shivpal was not in favour of Akhilesh as Chief Minister.nnWhen the battle lines were drawn and last gasp efforts began for control over the party, the SP got clearly divided into two camps with one led by Akhilesh and Ramgopal Yadav, Mulayam’s cousin, and the other by the Yadav chieftain himself. Mulayam had the backing of Shivpal and friend Amar Singh, often described as an “outsider” and blamed for the rift in the family.nnAkhilesh had fired his uncle Shivpal twice from the cabinet and it was seen by many as a direct challenge to his father, who steadily showed preference for his younger brother over son.nnThe battle in the family took a decisive turn when Akhilesh released a parallel list of 235 candidates for the state assembly polls.nnMulayam and Shivpal had already released a list of 325 candidates in the absence of Akhilesh which did not go down well with the Chief Minister who wanted a decisive say in selecting the nominees.nnSimmering tension in the state’s ruling party erupted into a full-fledged war on December 30, 2016, when Mulayam expelled Akhilesh and Ramgopal Yadav from the party for six years on grounds of indiscipline but reinstated them within 24 hours after a meeting of 200 of the party s 229 MLAs at the Chief Minister’s residence. At the SP National Convention on January 1 called by Ram Gopal, Akhilesh Yadav was declared the national president of Samajwadi Party. Naresh Chandra Uttam was named chief of SP’s state unit by Akhilesh replacing Shivpal.nnIn the mean time, Mulayam expelled Ramgopal again for six years for the third time in six months. Those expelled for attending the convention included vice-president Kiranmoy Nanda and state general secretary Naresh Agarwal, a Rajya Sabha MP.nnAs the tussle for controlling the party organisation continued, both the factions knocked the Election Commission’s door claiming to be the “real” Samajwadi Party and seeking the ‘bicycle’ symbol.nnIn its today’s order, the EC said, “The commission hereby answers the issue by holding that the group led by Akhilesh Yadav is the Samajwadi Party and is entitled to use its name and its reserved symbol bicycle for the purposes of the Election symbols (Reservation and Allotment) order 1968,” formally ending Mulayam’s control over the party he founded.nnSource: Press Trust of India

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