SP row: Fight for 'cycle' on but Akhilesh faction confident

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A leader from the Akhilesh camp told BusinessLine that the matter would be settled before January 17, when the filing of nominations for the first of the seven-phase elections will open. After the split in the party last week, the factions led by Mulayam and his son Akhilesh had approached the commission staking claim over the party and the symbol "cycle".

On January 5, the EC had asked the party factions to prove their strength in terms of support from MLAs, MPs and MLCs by submitting signed affidavits. "No one argued for freezing the symbol", Dhavan later told PTI.

Both the factions headed by Mulayam and his son and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav were waiting for Election Commission's order in this regard. Akhilesh was made the SP's national president at a convention on New Year day.

Citing past precedents, Election Symbol Order of 1968 and provisions of the Representation of the People Act, including Section 29A, the Akhilesh camp argued that since the numbers are stacked in favour of the CM, the symbol should go to him.

In this connection, Mulayam, on Thursday, met his former party aide Lok Dal's chief Sunil Singh who reportedly assured the SP leader of lending his symbol "farmer ploughing field" (Khet jotata Kisan) in case it is required.

On Thursday morning, Lok Dal national president Sunil Singh had a meeting with Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh, apparently to look at the options of a merger. According to sources, the primary question before the EC is whether there's a split in the party, after Mulayam's lawyers insisted that the SP was united. The symbol could be frozen before the Assembly polls in UP if the EC is not able to decide which of the two factions commands the majority in the organisation. Votes will be counted on March 11.