Samajwadi Party ‘cycle’ row: EC fixes January 13 to hear both factionshttps://indianexpress.com/elections/uttar-pradesh-assembly-elections-2017/samajwadi-party-cycle-row-ec-fixes-january-13-to-hear-both-factions-4467907/

Samajwadi Party ‘cycle’ row: EC fixes January 13 to hear both factions

The Election Commission will hear arguments from both sides before deciding on whom to award the party symbol, the cycle.

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Ramgopal Yadav (left), who backs Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav (right), Mulayam Singh Yadav (centre) at a meeting. (file photo)

The Election Commission Tuesday asked both factions of the Samajwadi Party to appear before it on January 13. The election body will hear arguments from both sides before deciding on whom to award the party symbol, the cycle. Earlier today, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav met his father and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav at his residence in Lucknow. This comes a day after Mulayam told reporters that the party stands united and Akhilesh would be the party’s chief ministerial candidate in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. Speaking to reporters on Monday evening, Mulayam had said: “For the benefit of the entire state, our party stands united. There is no question of division whatsoever. We will begin the campaign soon. Akhilesh will be the next chief minister, there is no doubt about that.”

Last week, both factions separately met Election Commission officials and submitted signed affidavits of party MLAs expressing support. The rift within the party widened and was headed towards a split after Akhilesh was anointed as the party’s national president, a position held by Mulayam for years. Mulayam, however, termed the emergency national executive committee meeting convened by his cousin Ram Gopal Yadav as illegal. He added that he continues to hold the position of party president.

The state of Uttar Pradesh goes to polls on February 11, in a seven-phase election that concludes on March 8. The Samajwadi Party is hoping to retain power in what is likely to be a fiercely contested election come February.