A day after his son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav seized control of the Samajwadi Party and ousted him as its president, Mulayam Singh Yadav approached the Election Commission Monday, staking claim to the party poll symbol of the cycle. The Akhilesh faction, which now has the support of the majority MLAs of the party, will meet the Election Commission Tuesday. Accompanied by Shivpal Yadav, Amar Singh and Jaya Prada, Mulayam Singh, during the 20-minute meeting with the poll panel at Nirvachan Sadan in New Delhi, is learnt to have stressed on the illegality of the party convention on Sunday where Akhilesh was elected SP president.
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“He (Mulayam) told the election commissioners he is the party president and that Sunday’s meeting was called without his approval, which is why all decisions made during the meeting are illegal,” an EC source said.
Mulayam also informed the commissioners that Ram Gopal Yadav, who is backing Akhilesh, has been expelled from the party and the EC should neither entertain any request from him nor respond to his letters. The EC is scheduled to meet Ram Gopal Yadav and two SP MLAs at 11.30 am Tuesday.
Ram Gopal’s letter, sources said, was received by the commission on Monday in which he sought an appointment to apprise the EC of the election of Akhilesh as party president. The communication to EC is on the party letterhead and he has identified himself as SP’s national general secretary.
Incidentally, there was no reference — direct or indirect — to the dispute in the party over the cycle symbol during the meeting with EC. “That’s probably because the Mulayam faction is of the view that it’s the natural claimant of the symbol,” an Election Commission source said.
WATCH VIDEO |Samajwadi Party Crisis: UP Congress MLAs In Favour Of Pre-Poll Pact With Akhilesh Yadav
“We have been given time at 11.30 tomorrow by the Election Commission. Senior leader Ram Gopal Yadavji will go to the EC tomorrow,” SP vice president Kiranmoy Nanda told The Indian Express soon after the Mulayam-led delegation met the poll panel.
Before meeting the EC, Mulayam Singh said in Lucknow that the “cycle symbol is ours” and asked party cadres to focus on winning the assembly elections likely to be announced any day now.
But in New Delhi, the 16, Ashok Road residence of Mulayam Singh wore a deserted look with no party leader other than Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh present. In the evening, a small group of youths were seen raising slogans in support of Mulayam Singh. Some posters outside the residence still have photographs of Mulayam, Akhilesh and Shivpal together.
Amar Singh, meanwhile, said he was with Mulayam Singh and would remain with him, even if he had to become a “villain” for it. “Unke saath rah kar kabhi nayak bane hain, to ab saath rah kar khalnayak bhi banna pade toh ye bhi sweekar hai.”
Responding to the remark, Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agrawal said Amar Singh will “fit the role of villain alone and the entire film will be spoilt if he plays a hero”. He regretted that both Shivpal and Amar Singh, who “mislead Netaji”, had accompanied him to Delhi.
Shivpal Yadav said Mulayam Singh will remain party national president. “Netaji is samay rashtriya adhyakhsa hain aur aage bhi rahenge, aur hum Netaji ke saath marte dum tak hain,” he said.
Ram Gopal Yadav dismissed the Mulayam camp’s efforts to thwart the attempts of the Akhilesh faction to get the cycle symbol.