The war between father-son duo of Samajwadi Party, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, was on Monday settled by the Election Commission with the poll body ruling in favour of son and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, awarding him the recognisable 'bicycle' symbol of the 25-year-old party.
The verdict has been arrived at by the poll watchdog, just a day before the nominations for the political crucial Assembly polls in India’s biggest electoral state begin.
“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, signed by the three Election Commissioners read.
The EC has also recognised Akhilesh as the national president of the Samajwadi Party.
The verdict by the three-member Election Commission headed by Nasim Zaidi came after it heard the two sides on Friday.
Ramgopal Yadav, who led the fight for the Akhilesh faction at the EC, thanked the poll body for the verdict and appealed to SP workers to prepare for the election and make Akhilesh the Chief Minister again.
"The EC took the right decision as they (Mulayam camp) did not have any supporting documents to claim symbol and party name," he said.
Soon after the verdict was out, Ram Gopal also hinted at a possible pre-poll alliance. “I am hopeful that a grand-alliance will be formed but the final decision has to be taken by Akhilesh Yadav.” It is believed that the SP could enter into an alliance with the Congress and RLD.
The verdict is a big jolt to Mulayam Singh Yadav as it takes away the control of the party which he founded 25 years ago.
As news of EC order trickled in, hordes of Akhilesh loyalists broke into celebrations outside the 5 Kalidas Marg residence of the chief minister.
There were scenes of jubilation in the VIP security zone that houses the complex where Akhilesh and Mulayam live in separate bungalows.
"Our prayer has been answered. We will now work with full zeal and vigour to ensure the victory of our Akhilesh bhaiya," said a youth SP leader outside the CM's bungalow.
Soon after the verdict was announced, Akhilesh visited his father Mulayam to “seek his blessings.“
Interestingly, the EC announcement came hours after Akhilesh supporters put up his brand new name plate at the SP headquarters that read "Akhilesh Yadav, Party President" strategically positioned directly under his father's nameplate which mentions Mulayam as "Party President".
Congress, which was in talks with the Akhilesh-led faction for a grand secular alliance in UP, also hailed as "judicious" the EC decision.
"We congratulate Akhilesh on being allotted the cycle symbol. Election Commission has taken a judicious decision in record time," Congress spokesman R P N Singh said, adding the UP Chief Minister had 90 per cent of the party including legislators on his side.
Earlier, Mulayam had hinted that he would move court if the EC decision does not go in his favour.
However, it is worth noting that the decision of the poll body can not be challenged in any court of law, constitutional experts say.
Incumbent CM was declared the national president of the Samajwadi Party at a national convention on January 1, a decision challenged by Mulayam.