The Election Commission alloted the coveted Samajwadi Party’s symbol, the bicycle, to Akhilesh Yadav-led faction on Monday. The move seems to be a huge blow for Mulayam Singh Yadav, the founder of the party and father of CM Akhilesh.
The political journey of Mulayam Singh that began in 1969 seems to have hit a major roadblock, with his party and family split down the middle. Netaji, as he is popularly known as, floated the Samajwadi Party in 1992.
Does the party symbol to Akhilesh mean the end of the road for Mulayam Singh Yadav’s political career? Here are five points that explain the momentous change of guard in the politics of Uttar Pradesh:
1 It makes Akhilesh the undisputed leader of the Samajwadi Party and shows that he is the new face of the Uttar Pradesh politics – a title he could not claim until now despite being chief minister for five years.
2 It allows Akhilesh to side-step anti-incumbency and lets him approach voters as a fresh face. It changes the perception that he was a weak chief minister. On the contrary, it gives him the image of a strong leader who revolted against his own family for a larger cause, and won the war.
3 It allows Akhilesh to claim his father Mulayam’s political legacy, along with the huge emotional connect and organisational support that the Samajwadi Party symbol brings with it. It gives him a better chance to consolidate the party’s Yadav-Muslim vote bank, without fear of it being divided.
4 It lets him showcase his development model that could attract fresh, undecided, young voters – as opposed to his father’s reliance on his traditional caste-and-religion equations.
5 It puts Akhilesh in a position of strength in discussions with potential partners such as the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal. It means he can be unyielding as the leader of the largest block on the negotiating table.