02 January, Lucknow
Even though the coup in the ruling Samajwadi Party will have a big impact in the coming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, the dates for which would be announced this week, the BJP and BSP are keenly watching the situation and have not yet jumped to any conclusion.
The matter is now in the court of the Election Commission, where both the erring factions- Mulayam and his son Akhilesh- have approached, to get the symbol cycle. But, the EC will have to assess the situation before taking any decision and it is all likely that the symbol could be confiscated for the time being.
If cycle symbol is confiscated by the EC, then it would be a win-win situation for both BJP and BSP, but then the role of Congress would be important as Akhilesh is closer to AICC Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka and thus, they could impress him to field his candidates on the Congress symbol. However, UP Governor Ram Naik has an important role to play and is continuously sending reports to the Centre, about the political development in the state.
“There is no constitutional crisis as such in the state. No political party or legislature have approached me yet. If someone comes, then only I can act. But still, I am monitoring the situation and doing my constitutional duty,” he told UNI here Monday.
On the other hand, BJP was also keeping all its options open and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally here in Lucknow today, could make some comments on the infighting in SP. UP BJP President Keshav Prasad Maurya, who was busy with the rally, however, told this agency that people have automatically discarded the SP and BJP is the only party to get the benefit. “It is a drama enacted by the Yadav family to confuse people of the state for their failures, but people know the better,” he said.
However, both the Mulayam and Akhilesh factions are blaming each other for their nexus with the BJP, leading to this dispute. Mulayam has charged Ram Gopal with destroying the Samajwadi Party and the family at the behest of the BJP, given that the family of Ram Gopal Yadav is facing CBI inquiry into the multi-crore rupee scam involving Yadav Singh, former chief engineer of Noida, Greater Noida and the Yamuna Expressway authority. Ram Gopal’s son and party MP Akshay Yadav has been reportedly interrogated by the CBI in this connection. But on the other hand, Ram Gopal Yadav, the ‘chanakya’ of Akhilesh, had alleged that Amar Singh was a BJP man and he was confusing Mulayam, so that BJP could benefit in the UP polls.
A senior BSP leader said that Behanji (Mayawati) is watching the situation and any comment on the matter would be made by her officially. However, senior Congress leader Sidharth Priya Srivastava made it clear that it would be better for Mulayam to accept his son Akhilesh’s leadership, who has the capability to lead the state. He even hinted that Akhilesh can have a pre-poll alliance with the Congress in the UP polls, which had been opposed by Mulayam in the past.
Meanwhile, a senior EC official here said that while dealing with conflicting claims from two factions staking claim to the ‘cycle’ symbol, may end up, allowing it to neither. Given that UP polls may be announced any day now, the EC is faced with a peculiar situation. In the normal course, the Commission would decide on the issue after hearing claims of both factions, he added.
However, given that there is virtually no time left for the UP polls, the best course of action for the EC may be to freeze the ‘cycle’ symbol, asking the two factions to contest on a new set of symbols, the official further said, adding that once the elections are over, the Commission may adjudicate as to which of the two factions should retain the original poll symbol of SP.
There are certain Election Commission norms about allotting election symbol to a political party, but in case of disputes, precedence determines the fate of the claims. In a similar case, between a mother and daughter of Apna Dal in UP, EC had confiscated the symbol. In 1969, Indira Gandhi formed a party of her own, named Congress (R).
She tried to use the party’s symbol-bullocks- for her new party, but due to an appeal from Congress (O), she was deprived of the traditional symbol. Ms Gandhi finally chose ‘cow and calf’. After conflict within the Congress post-Emergency, she once again split the Congress and floated Congress (I) with another symbol of ‘hand’