Supporters of Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav could be seen celebrating, as the Election Commission (EC) granted its approval to Akhilesh to use the ‘cycle’ symbol of the Samajwadi Party (SP) in the forthcoming State Assembly Elections. While the EC’s decision is a major breakthrough for Akhilesh, it is being considered a major blow for his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and his supporters.
Led by Nasim Zaidi, the three-member EC panel had heard the arguments of both sides on January 13 and reserved its judgment for later. Today, the EC panel announced its decision in favor of Akhilesh, as documents submitted clearly showed that majority of party members have pledged their support to the young party leader Akhilesh. In its decision, the EC has stated that the group led by Akhilesh Yadav is entitled to use the party’s ‘bicycle’ symbol. The EC has also acknowledged Akhilesh Yadav as the national president of the Samajwadi Party.
The dispute between the two groups arose after Akhilesh was elected as the SP National President at a convention on January 1. At the same time, Mulayam Singh Yadav was made the patron of the party. Mulayam did not approve of this and approached the EC regarding which faction gets to use the party symbol. Akhilesh’s group made a counter challenge and filed affidavits by various party office bearers, MPs, MLAs and district presidents to prove that it had the majority support and hence should be entitled to use the party symbol.
EC’s decision puts to rest the controversies and debate within and outside the Samajwadi party. Akhilesh now has full control of the party, which makes him a force to reckon with. Other political parties may now have to evolve a different strategy, as the EC’s decision has changed the dynamics of the political scene in Uttar Pradesh.