In a major boost to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the Election Commission recognised the faction headed by him as the Samajwadi Party and alloted the reserved symbol ‘Bicycle’ to it for contesting the coming Assembly elections. The group led by Akhilesh Yadav is the Samajwadi Party and is entitled to use its name and reserved symbol Bicycle, the three-member Election Commission headed by Nasim Zaidi said in its order. The verdict comes a day ahead of the start of the filing of nominations in the seven-phased polls in the state beginning on February 11.
The order, dealing a major blow to Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, came after the EC heard the two sides on Friday. It also came within a fortnight of Akhilesh being anointed the national president of the party. “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.
Here’s a look-back at the entire clash:
August 15: Samajwadi Party plans to merge with with gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari’s Qaumi Ekta Dal(QED). As a result, brother Shivpal Yadav threatens to resign from the party, which is averted by Mulayam Singh Yadav in view of the UP elections.
September 13: Akhilesh steps down from his position in the party as the UP unit chief and Mulayam appoints Shivpal as the Samajwadi Party’s State President. On the same day, Akhilesh strips uncle Shivpal Yadav of key portfolios.
September 15: Ramgopal Yadav, another brother of Mulayam and Samajwadi Party general secretary says there is no ‘sankat’ (rift) in the party and it was a wrong decision to remove Akhilesh Yadav as the president of the Samajwadi Party.
The day also sees Shivpal resign from the Uttar Pradesh cabinet and quit as the state unit president of Samajwadi Party. This was a result of Akhilesh deciding to sack two ministers from his cabinet – Gayatri Prajapati and Rajkishore Singh over allegations of corruption. Both the leaders were considered close to Shivpal.
September 17: Akhilesh Yadav announces that Shivpal will continue as the SP State President. Sacked Mines Minister, Gayatri Prasad Prajapati re-inducted in the Uttar Pradesh cabinet.
September 18: Shivpal Yadav expels Ramgopal Yadav and another leader for their alleged involvement in land grabbing. Additionally, Shivpal also expels party MLC Arvind Pratap Yadav, who is a nephew of Ramgopal Yadav and former village head in Etawah.
September 19: Shivpal’s firing of seven youth leaders result in a number of youth leaders close to Akhilesh Yadav quitting the party.
October 14: “The Chief ministerial candidate will be decided by the elected party legislatures and parliamentary board. This is our job,” Mulayam snubs Akhilesh by saying that the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate will be decided by elected party legislatures after the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
October 17: With much hesitation, Akhilesh is endorsed by Mulayam as the presumptive chief ministerial candidate of the party ahead of state Elections.
October 23: Akhilesh sacks Shivpal along with three other ministers from the government.
December 25: Akhilesh submits his own list of 403 probable candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections.
December 28: Mulayam announces his own list of candidates for 325 of the 403 Assembly seat.
December 29: Akhilesh revolts and releases his own list of 235 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections.
December 30: The Yadav feud reached its peak on Friday when Mulayam expelled Akhilesh along with cousin Ramgopal for anti-party activities. “We have to save the party. The party comes first. That is why we are expelling both Akhilesh and Ramgopal,” Mulayam said.
31 December: Mulayam reinstates Akhilesh and Ram Gopal. Earlier in the day, Akhilesh Yadav convened a meeting of SP legislators where over 200 of the 229 party MLAs turned up expressing their loyalty with the chief minister.
1 January: After forcing his way back into the party, Akhilesh gets appointed as the National Executive of the Samajwadi Party, as the new chief of the party and Mulayam is shifted upstairs. Mulayam calls move illegal and expels Ram Gopal again for six years.
2 January: Mulayam approaches EC, stakes claim over the cycle
3 January Ram Gopal represents Akhilesh Yadav, claiming the UP CM is the real Samajwadi Party president.
8 January : Akhilesh camp submitted forged signatures to EC, claims Amar Singh
15 January Lok Dal offers farmer ploughing field (khet jotta kissan) and party president post to Mulayam. Amar Singh leaves for London for treatment
16 January EC hands over cycle symbol to Akhilesh’s camp