The Samajwadi Party faction led by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has asked the Election Commission to take a final call on the party’s election symbol before January 17, which is when the nomination process for the upcoming polls is scheduled to begin, PTI reported.
“We had come to the Election Commission to urge them to expedite the decision as nominations will start soon,” said Ram Gopal Yadav, an Akhilesh Yadav loyalist. The two party factions – one led by the chief minister and the other by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav – have been fighting over ownership of the party name and symbol – the cycle.
Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday reiterated that there was no dispute between him and his son, and that the problem was only within the party, reported NDTV. “One person is creating trouble,” he said, in an apparent refernce to his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav. The veteran SP leader also wrote to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari on Monday, seeking Ram Gopal Yadav’s expulsion as the leader of the party in the Upper House, PTI reported.
On January 7, Akhilesh Yadav had submitted affidavits to the EC, saying he had the support of over 90% of SP’s members. The Election Commission had asked both sides to file a reply by January 9 on each other’s petitions to stake claim on the party symbol for use during the polls. Officials said the cycle symbol may be frozen if the Election Commission does not come to a decision before January 17.
The feud within the Samajwadi Party escalated last month when Akhilesh Yadav released his own list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections as he was unhappy with the names selected by Shivpal Yadav. Supporters had declared the UP chief minister the national president of the party at a convention on January 1, but Mulayam Singh Yadav asserted his position as the SP chief on Sunday. He had expelled his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav from the party for six years after the convention.
Elections in Uttar Pradesh are scheduled to be held in seven phases, starting February 11. The votes will be counted on March 11. Samajwadi Party will be contesting for seats primarily against the Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress.