Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav leads the real Samajwadi Party with the support of 90% of its members, his uncle Ram Gopal Yadav told the Election Commission on Tuesday. He met the monitoring body on behalf of the chief minister to stake claim on the Samajwadi Party symbol – the cycle, PTI reported.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav is also expected to present his case at the Election Commission. He had met the poll panel with his brother and Uttar Pradesh party chief Shivpal Yadav and Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh on Monday. The EC is expected to announce its verdict after hearing arguments from both factions.
As voters have associated the cycle symbol with the party for decades, proving that their faction is the actual Samajwadi Party is vital for both sides ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. Mulayam Singh Yadav had said on Tuesday that the party’s election symbol was his signature. His son Akhilesh Yadav, however, claimed the support of 200 of the 229 party MLAs on Saturday.
On Sunday, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister was declared the Samajwadi Party’s national president by his uncle Ram Gopal Yadav and supporters at a national executive meeting in Lucknow. Both leaders were expelled from the party on December 30 but reinstated a day later.
Akhilesh Yadav was expelled from the Samajwadi Party soon after Mulayam Singh Yadav issued him a show cause notice for releasing his own list of candidates for the Uttar Pradesh polls, expected to be held in February. The chief minister’s supporters had held demonstrations in various parts of the state to protest against his expulsion.
The Samajwadi Party has faced infighting since September, when Shivpal Yadav was appointed the state SP chief. Akhilesh Yadav had then relieved Shivpal, his uncle, of his Cabinet portfolios, once in September and again in November. Despite intervention from Mulayam Singh Yadav, the rift in the party has remained, with Akhilesh Yadav’s supporters reportedly functioning independently out of a separate office in Lucknow.