Keeping the futuristic vision in mind, Congress has decided to ally with Akhilesh Yadav, irrespective of whether the present Chief Minister remains in his father’s party – Samajwadi Party or not. As of now a pre-poll alliance has been made in Uttar Pradesh between Congress and Samajwadi Party. The Congress isn’t worried about Akhilesh, the young CM losing out the Samajwadi Party “cycle” symbol, as party strategists feel that it won’t matter much as the Grand Old Party has itself changed its party symbol twice after independence.
Speaking to The Indian Express, a senior Congress leader said, “It doesn’t matter in today’s day and age. Remember, we got the “hand” as our election symbol in 1978, and within two years, we swept the elections. That was a time when there were no television channels like today. Today, the new symbol can be propagated much more easily because of the penetration of television news channels. The channels will make his job easier. Besides, there is social media.”
The Indian National Congress (INC) contested independent India’s first general elections in 1951, under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, with the symbol “pair of bullocks and a plough.” Thereafter, when the party split in 1969, Indira Gandhi had to change the party symbol as she chose “a cow and a calf”.
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The Samajwadi Party is getting eager as the Election Commission (EC) is yet to declare its verdict on the dispute between two factions of Samajwadi Party (SP); one by party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav while the other by his son and UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Both the factions have made claims to the symbol “cycle”.
Meanwhile, filing for nominations for the first phase of elections begins in January 17. A senior SP leader said, “We are getting ready. But the hitch is the time the Election Commission is taking to decide the matter and pronounce its order. Once the Election Commission announces its decision, the alliance will be announced.”
In order to select its candidates, the Congress on Saturday announced a screening committee under the chairmanship of Ashok Gehlot. The Congress also had talks with Ajit Singh and news as released from the sources said that a Bihar-like grand alliance is in cards. However, party leaders are yet to decide on the number of seats and which seat will each party will contest from. However, sources said that the Congress is estimating to get around 100 seats.