SP’s cycle wars: EC order only adds credence to family drama theory

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav may have upstaged his father Mulayam Singh and won the battle for cycle – the party symbol on Monday, but it all looks extremely stage-managed, feels Vicky

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The verdict of the Election Commission of India declaring that the Akhilesh Yadav faction is the real Samajwadi Party may have put an end to the family feud. While that is what it appears to the public, the fact is this drama is likely to continue for some time, and it looks extremely stage-managed.

Amar Singh, who had become the face of the problem mysteriously left for London on Monday, much before the ECI could deliver its verdict on which faction gets to keep its party symbol. Another factor is the manner in which the Mulayam faction argued out their case before the ECI.

Is the SP family fued a drama?

Ramgopal Yadav while backing Akhilesh put out numbers to make their case. He spoke about how a large majority of the party was with Akhilesh, and hence the party's symbol should be given to them.

The Mulayam faction only said that the meeting called by Ramgopal was unconstitutional not once disputed the numbers. It may be recalled that the numbers were openly distributed before the public, but there was a mysterious silence about it during the ECI hearing.

The feud in the SP has been called by many as a drama. It was said that it was plotted by Mulayam to keep his brother Shivpal away. Moreover, Mulayam also wanted Akhilesh to take full control over the party and emerge as an independent and strong leader.

After the ECI verdict, Akhilesh and his wife Dimple met Mulayam and sought his blessings. Mulayam too wished them luck. This tone down from Mulayam came just a few hours after he had openly challenged his son. Mulayam had accused him of trying to ally with the BJP and said that he would fight his son in the elections. While many consider this to be a 'big fat' father-son drama, this portion of the ECI order of Monday only will add to what really could be going on behind the scenes.

"Except for the above vague allegation Mulayam Singh Yadav group despite repeated opportunities given it to it as above, neither filed any affidavit from any member nor indicated even the name of one member whose affidavit was considered by him to be suspect, or questioned the above numbers claimed by Ram Gopal Yadav either on 13th January, 2017 at the time of hearing or at any time thereafter," the order said.

At the hearing, the counsel for his group wanted to make a mountain of a mole hill by referring to the typographical mistake of the word 'help' instead of the word 'held' in some of the affidavits filed by the other groups. But he had no answer when a more glaring mistake was pointed out to him by the learned counsel for the other group in the letter dated January, 3, 2017 of Amar Singh where he had stated in the concluding para that 'I refute my point on the illegibility of January 01, 2017 convention of Samajwadi Party and unconstitutionality of the resolution passed thereby."

The ECI appeared to be hinting that this was a typo. What exactly was Amar Singh implying when he said refute? Had Singh really meant to use the word refute, then it would mean that the Mulayam faction had no problem with the January 1 meeting in which Akhilesh was made the boss. This is the same meeting that Mulayam had called as unconstitutional.

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