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EC may give order on SP symbol dispute tomorrow

New Delhi: The Election Commission is likely to give tomorrow an interim order on the dispute in the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, with the option of freezing the symbol ‘cycle’ most likely to be exercised.

The three-member EC, headed by Nasim Zaidi, heard both the sides on Friday and reserved its order.

The order is most likely to be delivered tomorrow, a day ahead of the start of filing of nominations for the first phase of election in UP which will have seven phases in all.

The dispute arose following election of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav as the National President of Samajwadi party at a national convention convened by party MP Ram Gopal Yadav on January 1.

At the same convention, incumbent President Mulayam Singh Yadav was made the patron of the party.

This was contested by Mulayam, who approached the EC and conveyed to it that he continues to be the party president and the election symbol should remain with his faction.

This was contested by the other side, which filed affidavits by various party office bearers, MPs, MLAs and district presidents to claim that the majority was with the Chief Minister’s faction and that it was the group which was entitled to the symbol.

Under the Symbols’ Order, the Commission heard the two sides on Friday. Noted lawyers Kapil Sibal and Rajeev Dhawan appeared for the Akhilesh faction and strongly argued for being allotted the cycle symbol because it had the majority in the party.

Former solicitor egeneral Mohan Parasaran, appearing for Mulayam’s side, disputed the contention that there was any split in the party and insisted that the symbol should remain with him.

Sibal argued that if Parasaran’s argument was to be accepted, then there was no dispute and there was no need for a hearing. He said the party had split vertically and the majority was with Akhilesh Yadav’s faction.

Parasaran also claimed that a number of affidavits filed by Akhilesh’s side were not genuine and some of the signatories were not even alive.

Sources said with hardly any time left for the Commission to go into the authenticity of the documents filed by both the sides, and to go into claims and counter claims, it may come out with an interim order freezing the symbol.

The two sides may be allowed to pick up symbols from among the free symbols available in the state.

As a back-up option, both factions are believed to have zeroed in on alternate symbols in case ‘cycle’ symbol is frozen. While Akhilesh faction is understood to have zeroed in on ‘motorcycle’, the Mulayam side is believed to be considering Lok Dal’s symbol of ‘farmer with a plough’.