Lucknow: In a major boost to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the Election Commission (EC) on Monday recognised the faction headed by him as the Samajwadi Party and alloted the reserved symbol 'Bicycle' to it for contesting the coming Assembly elections.
The 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.
The verdict comes a day ahead of the start of the filing of nominations in the seven-phased polls in the state beginning on February 11.
The order, dealing a major blow to Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, came after the EC heard the two sides on Friday.
It also came within a fortnight of Akhilesh being anointed the national president of the party.
"The commission hereby answers the issue by holding that the groups 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," the EC order said.
Reacting to the EC order, a jubilant Ramgopal Yadav, who is the chief minister's uncle and General Secretary of the group, said, "The EC took the right decision as they (Mulayam camp) did not have any supporting documents to claim symbol and party name."
"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 news of EC order trickled in, hordes of Akhilesh loyalists broke into celebrations outside the 5-Kalidas Marg residence of the chief minister.
There were scenes of jubilation in the VIP security zone that houses the complex where Akhilesh and Mulayam live in separate bungalows.
"Our prayer has been answered. We will now work with full zeal and vigour to ensure the victory of our Akhilesh bhaiya," said a youth SP leader outside the CM's bungalow.
As soon as he got the news, Akhilesh went to meet his father to seek his blessings.
Interestingly, 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".
SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday hit out at his son Akhilesh Yadav, stating that he would fight against the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister if he does not listen to him.
“I called Akhilesh 3 times, but he met me for just a minute and left even before I could begin speaking,” Mulayam said.
Playing the religion card, Mulayam also claimed that Akhilesh does not have a single Muslim name in his list of candidates for the UP elections. He said he was worried his son was being seen as a "Muslim baiter."
Speaking to party workers, Mulayam said he was trying his best to save the party.
The SP supremo also said that he was trying to ensure that the ‘cycle’ symbol of the party stays with his faction, but that he would accept whatever decision the EC takes in this regard.
Akhilesh and Mulayam camps had both expressed confidence that the EC would rule in their favour. However, the Lok Dal, a party from UP, has offered Mulayam Singh Yadav usage of their own party symbol.
On Monday, the SP supremo also slammed his cousin and Akhilesh confidante Ramgopal Yadav, claiming that he had ‘destroyed’ the Samajwadi Party.