With the Election Commission (EC) expected give its verdict on which faction of the Samajwadi Party (SP) gets to own the cycle symbol Monday, leaders from both sides are keeping their fingers crossed.
Both sides claim that the judgment will be in their favour and have started campaigning for the upcoming Assembly polls, scheduled to begin from February 11, with the symbol.
“I have started campaigning with cycle symbol in my constituency,” said Ruchi Veera, MLA, from Bijnor, who figures in both Mulayam Singh’s and Akhilesh Yadav’s list, where the party won for the first time in the 2014 by-poll. “Elections here is in the second phase (February 15) and you can’t win elections without being present among the public.”
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When asked what she thought of the row over the symbol and who it will finally go to, she said, “Symbols get popularised easily through media and other means and that will not be a major problem.”
At party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s residence at 5, Vikramaditya Marg, senior party leaders, including Shivpal Singh Yadav, Ambika Chaudhary and Legislative Council chairman Ramesh Yadav, arrived to draw up a strategy to deal with the situation once the EC decides on the symbol. Both Mulayam and Shivpal are likely to leave for Delhi on Monday morning.
Several ticket aspirants too met Mulayam.
Deoraj Gupta, a ticket seeker from Banda Sadar said Mulayam appeared relaxed but was focused on the election preparations. “I met Neta ji and told him that I want to contest election but on the symbol of the cycle. I will camp in Lucknow till EC announced its decision,” said Gupta.
CM Akhilesh Yadav’s official residence at 5, Kalidas Marg, howeverm, did not see the usual crowd. Outside the Janeshwar Mishra Trust, which he heads, in Lucknow though, there was a steady stream of visitors.Aspirants were asked to wait for EC’s decision because Akhilesh could leave some seats for other parties in case went for an allianace.
“Once the symbol is finalised, the campaign materials will be prepared with it,” said Udaiveer Singh, a Member of Legislative Council (MLC) and an Akhilesh supporter. Rajya Sabha MPs Ramgopal Yadav and Naresh Agrawal are camping in Delhi and they are likely to reach Lucknow only after EC order.
At SP state headquarters, Naresh Uttam, who Akhilesh had appointed state party chief Akhilesh, remained present throughout the day to meet ticket aspirants.
“Majority of the visitors are those who want to know their tasks for the poll related works. Most of them have been told their jobs and no one is waiting for EC order,” said Uttam. “Mulayam Singh Yadav ji is our leader, cycle is our symbol, SP is our party and Akhilesh ji our national president.”
While sources said that Akhilesh has already drafted the points of manifesto and the wait was only for a symbol for its cover page, Uttam said that manifesto was still being drafted and suggestion were being taken from workers.
Meanwhile, Lok Dal national president Sunil Singh said in Lucknow he would support and even offer his chair in the party to Mulayam if the EC verdict did not go in his favour. Sunil also appealed to Akhilesh to arrive at a compromise with his father.
Also, the leaders of other parties including Congress and alliance of Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Janata Dal (U), Janata Dal (S), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Bahujan Samaj Swabhiman Sangharsh Samiti (BS4) too are not declaring their candidates as they are waiting for EC order. An alliance of Congress with Akhilesh is expected and so the Congress is not releasing the list of candidates while the nominations for the first phase of elections will begin from Tuesday. Hopeful of becoming part of alliance, RLD too has not declared its candidates despite the fact that its stronghold seats are listed for election in first phase of elections.