Mulayam's claim to the Samajwadi Party and party symbol rests on the party's constitution which states that a national convention cannot be called without the national president's permission
New Delhi: The power struggle in the Samajwadi Party (SP) shifted from Lucknow to the national capital on Monday as party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav approached the Election Commission (EC) to stake claim over the party’s election symbol—the cycle—a day after his son, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, tried to take control over the party.
Mulayam met EC officials, accompanied by loyalists including younger brother Shivpal Yadav, Amar Singh and actress-turned-politician Jaya Prada. Mulayam was replaced as the party’s national president by Akhilesh in a decision passed by the party’s national convention on Sunday in the former’s absence.
“The cycle symbol is ours," said Mulayam, who termed Sunday’s convention unconstitutional and all decisions taken by it invalid as it was held without his permission.
“No one can accuse me of wrongdoing. I have never indulged in corruption or betrayed anyone. The cycle symbol is ours," he said, asking party cadres to prepare for the upcoming assembly election due in February.
Mulayam’s claim to the party and the party symbol rests on the party’s constitution which states that a national convention cannot be called without the national president’s permission.
Ram Gopal Yadav, Akhilesh’s close aide who was expelled by Mulayam from the party on Sunday for organizing the national convention, is scheduled to meet EC officials on Tuesday.
The decision on who retains the original election symbol will rest upon what the EC decides. “We will have to look into what the both sides have to say, what the party constitution states, etc. The process takes time, and given that the polls are so near, there is also an option of freezing the symbol after which neither of the sides will have the advantage," a senior EC official said, requesting anonymity.
“Splits, mergers and alliances have frequently disrupted the compositions of political parties. This has led to a number of disputes over which section of a divided party gets to keep the party symbol, and how to classify the resulting parties in terms of national and state parties," the EC website says, adding that while the poll watchdog resolves such disputes, they can be judicially challenged.
Meanwhile, back in Lucknow on Monday, Akhilesh met party leaders and legislators at his residence, while Mulayam postponed a national convention called by him on 5 January.
“According to Netaji’s (Mulayam) orders, the convention has been postponed for now... start preparing for the elections in your areas and work hard to win it," Shivpal wrote on microblogging website Twitter, without citing any reason for the postponement.
Anuja contributed to this story.
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