JK News Today

NEW DELHI:  Ahead of the election, where he is seeking a second consecutive term, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has been declared the rightful owner of his Samajwadi Party’s symbol, the cycle.

The 43-year-old has been facing off with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav for control of the party.

Both sides filed competing claims with the Election Commission to use it as their own.  The decision in Akhilesh Yadav’s favour suggests that his faction of the Samajwadi Party has been recognised as the real thing.

The Election Commission of India alloted the Samajwadi Party’s ‘bicycle’ poll symbol to the faction led by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, news agencies reported on Monday.

The decision came just a day before the filing of nominations for the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Experts say the SP – the ruling party in India’s most populous state – has been hurt by the family feud between CM Akhilesh and his uncle Shivpal over control of the party.

Shivpal is said to have the backing of party patriarch and Akhilesh’s father, Mulayam Singh Yadav.

Mulayam has said he would contest against Akhilesh in the polls if his son did not “listen” to him, seeking to wield the stick after the chief ministership carrot failed to make his rebellious son fall in line.

The decision is crucial as caste and region loyalties across the vast state often hinges on the rural electorate identifying with the name and symbol of the party, rather than the local candidate.

The state goes to the polls in seven phases starting on February 11. The SP is up against the BJP, Congress and regional rival Bahujan Samaj Party to win the politically crucial state.