UP Election 2017: Akhilesh Yadav gets 'cycle', EC says his group is Samajwadi Party, Mulayam to move court

The fight over the 'cycle' seems to be over. According to media reports, the Election Commission (EC) on Monday allotted the Samajwadi Party's official electoral symbol of 'cycle' to the faction led by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Reports suggest that Mulayam Singh Yadav is likely to move court over EC's decision.

The decision of the three-member Election Commission, headed by Nasim Zaidi, comes after two weeks of factional war between Akhilesh and his father and party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav over the election symbol.

The verdict comes a day ahead of the start of the filing of nominations in the seven-phased polls in the state beginning on 11 February.

"The commission hereby answers the issue by holding that the groups led by Akhilesh Yadav is the Samajwadi Party and is entitled to use its name and its reserved symbol Bicycle for the purposes of the Election symbols (Reservation and allotment) order 1968," the EC order said.

Soon after the announcement, Akhilesh Yadav tweeted on his official Twitter page, saying, " the cycle will keep moving ahead."

Reacting to the verdict of the top election body, an elated Ram Gopal Yadav, uncle of Akhilesh and member of his faction, welcomed the EC's decision. The Rajya Sabha MP also reiterated that the list of candidates for the first phases of the election will be declared in the next two or three days.

Talking about the prospects of an alliance with the Congress and the RLD, Ram Gopal added that the final decision will taken by Akhilesh. He also hinted at a "mahagathbandhhan" (grand alliance).

As news of EC order trickled in, hordes of Akhilesh loyalists broke into celebrations outside the 5-Kalidas Marg residence of the chief minister.

There were scenes of jubilation in the VIP security zone that houses the complex where Akhilesh and Mulayam live in separate bungalows.

"Our prayer has been answered. We will now work with full zeal and vigour to ensure the victory of our Akhilesh bhaiya," said a youth SP leader outside the CM's bungalow.

As soon as he got the news, Akhilesh went to meet his father to seek his blessings.

Interestingly, the EC announcement came hours after Akhilesh supporters put up his brand new name plate at the SP headquarters that read "Akhilesh Yadav, Party President" strategically positioned directly under his father's nameplate which mentions Mulayam as "Party President".

Congress was quick to comment on the development. The party's chief ministerial face Sheila Dikshit said that she was ready to step down as the party's chief ministerial candidate and make way for Akhilesh. Dikshit also added that the ultimate decision will be taken by the high command.

"We congratulate Akhilesh on being allotted the cycle symbol. Election Commission has taken a judicious decision in record time," Congress spokesman R P N Singh said, adding the UP Chief Minister had 90 per cent of the party including legislators on his side.

CP Rai, a Mulayam loyalist, speaking to CNN-News 18, asserted that the party was originally built by Mulayam and that he would remain with the faction-led by the former chief minister. Regretting the apparent split, Rai added that they failed to keep the party united.

The BJP, however, urged that the party officially belonging to Akhilesh, it would be time for him to weed out the corrupt elements in his party. Akhilesh Yadav's lawyer Kapil Sibal also weighed in on the matter an said that the Election Commission was likely to choose his faction because, "by 9 January Akhilesh group filed all docs at various levels, the Mulayam group did not respond to commission's direction and that meant that really had no evidence of their support claim."

Akhilesh Yadav supporters took to the streets to celebrate the Election Commission's decision.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav too acknowledged EC's decision and appealed to Mulayam Singh Yadav to give his blessings to Akhilesh Yadav.

Advising both Mulayam and Akhilesh not to fight, Lalu said that its very important for them to unite to stop the "communal forces".

"The communal forces will be benefited by the divide in Samajwadi Party... this country would not be saved if Narendra Modi will come to power (in UP)," he said.

He added Akhilesh's triumph is also a victory for his father Mulayam Singh.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jan 16, 2017 21:23:48 IST