Even as the battle for the party’s “cycle” symbol reached the doors of the Election Commission, efforts at a rapprochement between the two warring factions of the Samajwadi Party did not yield any results till late on Tuesday evening.
In a renewed effort at calling a truce and avert a split in the party ahead of the impending elections, Akhilesh Yadav had a meeting with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav for more than three hours, but a compromise formula failed to emerge.
According to sources, the compromise formula floated by the Akhilesh camp included Mulayam Singh reassuming the role of the party president, Akhilesh Yadav helping decide the party’s candidates and Shivpal Yadav be given a national role in party affairs, thereby allowing the chief minister some space in deciding the party’s affairs in the state. The meeting, which was initially a one-on-one between Akhilesh Yadav and Mulayam, later included Shivpal Singh too.
However, till late in the evening, consensus on this seemed to be eluding. Sources privy to the negotiations said that while Akhilesh was ready to give up his role of party’s national president, which was conferred upon him two days back at the emergency national convention, he was adamant on retaining his say over the selection of candidates. “The chief minister is in no mood to scale down on this condition, primarily because he feels that after five years of hard work and a development-oriented outlook of his government, he should have the last word on deciding who gets tickets,” said a source, requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, amid accusations and counter accusations that flew thick and fast throughout the day, Akhilesh Yadav’s supporters claimed that since he commands the support of the majority in the party, his is the real Samajwadi Party and thus, the “cycle” symbol, too, belongs to him.
“We met the Election Commission officials today and staked claim to the party’s symbol, the bicycle. We have told the Election Commission that since the Chief Minister has the support of 90% of the MLAs and MPs and is also the party president, the faction led by him should be considered the real Samajwadi Party, said Ram Gopal Yadav, adding that no compromise formula has been worked out and the status quo on the matter remains.
Mulayam Singh had met the Election Commission on Monday to demand that the party’s symbol remains his property.