Akhilesh Yadav now officially replaces Mulayam Singh as the national president of the party.
New Delhi: UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav slashed a major political victory over his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, with the Election Commission on Monday allotting the party’s cycle symbol to him, and identifying his faction as the “real” Samajwadi Party.
Mr Akhilesh Yadav, 43, now officially replaces Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, 77, as the national president of the party.
“The faction led by Akhilesh Yadav is the SP and is entitled to use the name and its reserved symbol cycle for the purposes of the election symbol,” the EC stated in its 42-page order.
The shift of power from the old to the new was instant, but respectful. Minutes after the EC order, a shiny, new nameplate announcing “Akhilesh Yadav, National President” was nailed at the SP office in Lucknow, below the nameplate carrying Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav’s name and his designation, ‘Rashtriya Adhyaksh’. The Mulayam Singh faction has threatened to move High court against the EC’s decision.
Mr Ram Gopal Yadav, Mr Akhilesh Yadav’s uncle, close aide and the planner of the political coup, flushed with triumph, stated that the EC took the “right decision as they (the Mulayam camp) did not have any supporting documents to prerogative the symbol and party name”.
“The Chief Minister Akhilesh is very happy,” he added. Mr Ram Gopal Yadav, whom Mr Mulayam Yadav had branded as the “villain” of the piece, stated that a fresh official list of candidates would be finalised by Wednesday for the first 2 phases, and “a grand alliance will be formed to fight elections”.
UP is to vote in a 7-phase election for its 403 seats starting February 11. The EC’s decision dispensed a severe blow not just to the SP patriarch, but it also tore the BJP’s hope of splitting the Muslim-Yadav vote.
Grand Alliance may be a reality now
With the secular grand alliance — comprising SP, Congress, Rashtriya Lok Dal, JD(U) and other smaller parties — now becoming a reality, Akhilesh Yadav could have an advantage in the UP elections.
Majority of the 20 per cent Muslim vote and the Yadav vote bank in the state could now merge in favour of Akhilesh Yadav and the grand alliance. And the RLD’s presence in the alliance guarantees a major amount of Jat votes from western UP, which had slanted towards the BJP during the last Lok Sabha polls.
In this high-stake election, the BJP was expecting that the Muslim vote would split between the SP, the BSP and the Congress, and the Yadavs between the Mulayam and Akhilesh factions.
Akhilesh Yadav’s victory could also have a hostile impact on BSP supremo Mayawati’s efforts to return to power in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress defined the EC’s decision as “judicious” and “congratulated” Akhilesh Yadav on being allotted the cycle symbol.
As soon as EC proclaimed its decision around 6.30pm on Monday, festivities broke out in Lucknow and across Uttar Pradesh. Hundreds of youths carrying SP flags and Akhilesh Yadav’s cut-outs poured out on the streets raising slogans, “Akhilesh Yadav zindabad.”
Former in the day, sensing that the poll panel’s decision could go against him, the angry father blew, puffed and even threatened to contest against his son — “if need be”.
While a defeated Mulayam threatened to go to court against the EC decision, his close advisor Amar Singh, who had appeared as the epicentre of the family feud in SP, was in London.
Aug. 14, 2016: Shivpal Yadav threatened to resign citing officers ignoring him
Aug. 15, 2016: Mulayam Singh Yadav backs brother Shivpal
Sept. 13, 2016: Mulayam Singh replaces Akhilesh as the state unit chief with Shivpal Yadav
Sept. 19, 2016: Shivpal expels seven Akhilesh-loyalists
Dec. 30. 2016: Mulayam Singh expels Akhilesh Yadav and Ram Gopal Yadav for 6 years for “gross indiscipline”
Jan. 2, 2017: Akhilesh Yadav declared new national president of the party. Mulayam quickly announces as illegal the decisions made to give Akhilesh power