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Fate of bicycle hangs on EC's final hearing on Friday

Time is running short for father-son duo of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav making it imperative for them to settle their differences. The Election Commission (EC) has asked both the factions to come for a final hearing on Friday, January 13, pending which it will decide the fate of their party symbol—the bicycle.

The EC has to decide the matter before January 17 when the process of nomination for the first phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh begins. Uttar Pradesh will start polling on February 11.

EC sources said notices for hearing have been sent to both the factions.

The faction led by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav through party National General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav has already submitted six carton loads of documents that include affidavits signed by party MPs, MLAs, MLCs and delegates owing allegiance to Akhilesh.

Rejecting these claims, the other faction led by Mulayam Singh and brother Shivpal has given letter to the EC staking claim to the party and its symbol. It also claimed that the affidavits submitted by the Akhilesh camp were forged and that the EC should get them verified before proceeding further.

Both the factions have met the EC twice, the latest being Monday when they reiterated their respective claims amid rumours of a possible patch up between father and son. However, the situation returned to square one after showing some signs of thaw between father and son who met for over one-and-a-half hours in Lucknow.

If the two factions do not make peace and unite before January 13, they face the threat of losing the popular symbol of bicycle as the Commission could put a freeze on it. However, the Commission will have to come to a conclusion that neither of the two factions command a clear majority.

In case the Commission concludes that either one of the two factions has the support of majority—50 per cent plus 1—of MPs, MLAs, MLCs and delegates, it will stand a chance to take the control of the party in which case both the name and symbol can be given to it.