The Samajwadi Party’s pari-war has biked from Lucknow into Delhi, with both party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, claiming the party’s symbol — the bicycle. Both sides want all the party’s rights, including navigating the cycle, in the upcoming assembly polls. But with so many wheels within wheels, their cycle of complaints has now reached the Election Commission, requesting its decision on who gets to ride. The Election Commission even had Mulayam Singh, brother Shivpal, loyalist Amar Singh and former actress Jaya Prada dropping in to state their passion for the cycle. But Akhilesh isn’t known to let opponents breezily cycle past. Addressing cadres, he stated, “I have never betrayed anyone,” adding defiantly, “Only I will ride your cycle.”
Of course, the question rings like a cycle bell — the Samajwadis being socialists, why not just share the cycle amongst all? Admittedly, the resultant image may resemble the Daredevil Riders you see every Republic Day parade, about 50 people balanced precariously on a shaking cycle or bike. But at least, SP would showcase how politics need not always be a vicious cycle.
Yet, the lust for a cycle all one’s own can be understood. Launched exactly two centuries ago, the bicycle is the most efficient human-powered means of transport, leading Queen to sing passionately in Bicycle Race, “I don’t wanna be a candidate for Vietnam or Watergate — all I wanna do is bicycle, bicycle, bicycle.” Movie stars endorse that joyous feeling, Saira Bano to Aamir Khan singing glowing songs astride the humble bicycle. Vittorio de Sica even made an entire film with a father-son duo desperately searching for a cycle pinched by Bicycle Thieves. So it’s quite logical that Akhilesh and his father cycle competitively now, the SP’s tricky ride delighting the news cycle.