EC asks Akhilesh, Mulayam to reply to petitions for use of SP symbol

The factional war in the ruling Samajwadi Party of UP reached the EC a day after Mulayam was deposed as SP president.

New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) has asked Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav to reply by January 9 on separate petitions filed before it regarding usage of the poll symbol of ‘cycle’.

The EC will soon take a view based on precedents and set principles on the dispute over the cycle poll symbol, on which two factions in the Samajwadi Party have staked claims.

"The Commission, as per the symbol order, while keeping in mind precedents and set principles followed till now, will examine the documents before us and will take an appropriate decision at the right time," Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told reporters on Wednesday.

The two factions, one headed by SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and the other by his son Akhilesh Yadav have staked claim on the party's poll symbol and have presented their case before the Election Commission.

Sources in the Commission said it will follow paragraph 15 of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 to proceed on the dispute. It gives power to the Commission "in relation to splinter groups or rival sections of a recognised political party".

Zaidi said in the last two-three days, the EC has received representations, one from Mulayam Singh Yadav and the other from Ram Gopal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav. Last evening, a detailed document was presented by Ram Gopal Yadav.

The factional war in the ruling Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh reached the Election Commission a day after Mulayam Singh Yadav was deposed from the post of the party president by the group headed by his son Akhilesh Yadav.

The split in SP was on Tuesday formalised with the Akhilesh Yadav camp approaching the EC to assert the party is "actually" headed by the Chief Minister now and not its founder Mulayam Singh Yadav who had knocked the doors of the poll panel a day before to lay claim on 'cycle' symbol.

Hours after his camp staked claim over the party and its election symbol 'cycle', Akhilesh drove to his father's residence and was with him for over two hours, leading to speculation about patch-up efforts which was discounted by the Chief Minister's camp saying it was "too late".

Leaders from the Akhilesh faction, Ram Gopal Yadav, Naresh Agarwal and Kiranmoy Nanda had met the Election Commissioners on Tuesday morning to stake claim over the party and its election symbol.

With the rival factions staking claims over the party and its symbol, the ball is in the Commission's court. As an interim measure, the poll panel may freeze the cycle symbol and ask the two factions to contest on new symbols.

It may also give the two sides a new name to contest the polls till the time a final decision is taken on the real 'ownership' of Samajwadi Party and its symbol 'cycle'.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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