New Delhi, Jan 3: Mulayam Singh Yadav, the patriarch of the Samajwadi Party held a 40 minute meeting with officials of the Election Commission of India in which he staked a claim over the party's symbol. The SP's cycle symbol is ours and Ram Gopal Yadav could not have taken any decision as he has been expelled, Mulayam told officials in the ECI.
It may be recalled that on Sunday, a convention of the SP led by Ram Gopal had declared Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav as the chief. The meeting was declared unconstitutional by Mulayam.
The ECI would now have to wait for a counter claim and in the absence of such an event it would have two options before it. First would be to freeze the symbol and ask both sides to pick a new one. Second would be to see which of the sides has a majority and the symbol would be allotted to that party accordingly.
In a March 2004 order, the ECI had quoted a Supreme Court verdict while stating that the test of majority applied in the case of a split which was a valid and relevant test. In all such cases, the ECI has been applying the same formula of numerical majority in the legislature wings.
In February 2004, the ECI directed both factions led by P S Sangma and Sharad Pawar to chose a new symbol. Both parties staked a claim for the clock symbol. In 2011, two factions of the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal staked a claim for the party symbol, 'Chair." The ECI went ahead and approved two new symbols in this case.
In the case of the SP while the commission can go ahead and approve two new symbols it could also take into consideration the test of relative majority. In the SP, there is no official split as yet. However if the side led by Akhilesh stakes a claim the ECI could apply the test of relative majority. In such a case the side would have to back their claim by submitting a letter with signature of the legislators.