A day before the hearing scheduled with the Election Commission regarding ownership of the Samajwadi Party symbol, party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav Thursday called Lok Dal president Sunil Singh to his Delhi residence where he is believed to have discussed the possibility of contesting Assembly polls on the Lok Dal symbol if EC denies him the SP symbol or freezes it.
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Mulayam had left Lok Dal around 37 years back. He had served as state president of Lok Dal, the party founded by his mentor Chaudhary Charan Singh. Lok Dal is presently an unrecognised party. It had recognition as a national party in 1977 when Mulayam was elected MLA from Jaswantnagar constituency in Etawah on its symbol.
Singh claimed he had offered Mulayam the post of the party’s national president. According to sources, Mulayam could field his candidates on the symbol of Lok Dal – “a farmer ploughing the field” — in case EC freezes the SP’s symbol ‘cycle’.
Both Akhilesh and Mulayam have staked claim to the party and its symbol in the Election Commission after Akhilesh was declared national president at a convention called in Lucknow on January 1. Mulayam was made ‘Margdarshak’ in the convention.
Singh told The Indian Express that he met Mulayam and his brother Shivpal Singh Yadav Thursday in Delhi and they discussed the possibility of Mulayam keeping Lok Dal’s symbol an option to field his candidates. “Mulayam Singh had been founder member of Lok Dal and if he associates himself with Lok Dal, party will be strengthened and may get re-established as a national party once again under the leadership of Mulayam Singh ji,” Singh said.
He further added, “I have offered post of party national president to Mulayam Singh ji. His presence will strengthen Lok Dal in UP, Rajasthan, Bihar and various other states.”
According to the Lok Dal website, the party was structured by former PM Chaudhary Charan Singh and prominent political leaders including Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna, Devi Lal, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Karpuri Thakur, Sharad Pawar, Ram Vilas Paswan had been associated with the party in the past.
Lok Dal had contested on 90 seats in UP in 2012 and had lost badly on all seats. The party had lost all 76 seats it contested on in 2007. For 2017 elections, Lok Dal has so far declared 18 candidates.
“In case Mulayam Singh ji fields his candidate on Lok Dal symbol, I could make changes in the list of candidates declared so far,” Singh said. Mulayam has so far declared 393 candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections.
After he released the list last month, Akhilesh had released a parallel list of 235 candidates after Mulayam denied tickets to several MLAs and other leaders who were recommended by Akhilesh for SP’s candidature.
Taking note of it, Mulayam had expelled Akhilesh from the party for six years, but revoked the expulsion next day.