The Election Commission has initiated the process for the two warring factions of the Samajwadi Party to prove their majority for getting the party name and symbol by January 9. The EC has asked both factions to show strength of MLAs, MPs and MLCs supporting them through signed affidavits by January 9. In the 404-member UP Assembly, SP has 229 MLAs.
Polls will be held in seven phases in Uttar Pradesh on February 11 (73 constituencies), February 15 (67), February 19 (69), February 23 (53), February 27 (52), March 3 (49) and March 8 (40).
The announcement of poll schedule has hastened efforts by the two camps to bag the ‘cycle’ symbol.
After deposing Mulayam as SP boss, Akhilesh appeared to be consolidating his position further by appointing presidents of several district units in his capacity as the “new SP chief”.
Giving ample indications that there was no looking back, a defiant Akhilesh said, “We are going for polls…Will return again.”
Hectic back channel moves to broker peace were witnessed in the state capital during the past two days, but all efforts failed to salvage the ruling party from a split.
Interestingly, some old socialists still expected a last minute patch up so that SP could go to polls a united house.
Meanwhile efforts are on to broker a truce between the warring father and son – Mulayam and Akhilesh. Both leaders met for over an hour on Wednesday in an attempt to find common ground.
(With inputs from PTI)