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Battle for ‘Cycle’: Election Commission begins hearing claims of Mulayam, Akhilesh factions

6New Delhi: The battle for ‘cycle’ resumed on Friday when the Election Commission (EC) began hearing the claims by Samajwadi Party (SP) factions led by Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav over control of the party and its election symbol.
On one side are Mulayama and his younger brother Shivpal and on the other side, representing Akhilesh, is Ram Gopal Yadav.
The EC wants to decide on the matter before January 17 when the process of nomination begins for the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh to be held on February 11.
While the Akhilesh camp has submitted affidavits signed by party MPs, MLAs, MLCs and delegates supporting him, the other side has maintained that as per the party’s constitution, Mulayam is still the party chief.
The Mulayam-led faction has also claimed that the affidavits submitted by the Akhilesh camp were forged and that the EC should get them verified before proceeding.
With both sides committed to not let go of the ‘cycle’, the symbol faces the threat of being frozen before the seven-phase Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls if the Election Commission is not able to decide which of the two factions of the party commands majority in the organisation.
The side that has the support of majority (50 per cent plus 1) of MPs, MLAs, MLCs and delegates will gain an upper hand in the fight to control the party founded 25 years ago.
Candidates from the Mulayam and Akhilesh camps cannot fight election on ‘cycle’ symbol at the same time, therefore, the EC will have to take a call on the issue before the filing of nominations begins.
SP tussle
Over the past one week, hectic efforts have been made to try and keep the party united.
The main bone of contention was the post of party president, which Akhilesh had snatched from his father at a party meeting in Lucknow on January 1.
Mulayam asserts he is still party president and wants Akhilesh to give up his claim. But, the 43-year-old Chief Minister, who claims the backing of a majority of leaders and lawmakers in the party, is in no mood to give it up.
He is adamant that he will hold the post for three months and will relinquish it once the UP elections are over.
Akhilesh has dig in his heels as he does not trust his father’s closest aides — Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh — and wants that they be kept away from crucial decision-making during this period, they said.

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