A running feud for control of Uttar Pradesh’s ruling party has brought the Samajwadi Party on the verge of a split but confusion abounds on who will get to keep the party’s popular election symbol, the bicycle.
In the event of a split, experts say, the bicycle symbol will go to the faction – there is one headed by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and another by his uncle Shivpal Yadav – that can furnish signatures of majority of officebearers.
But if the election commission doesn’t have enough time to verify the legislative majority of either faction, then the symbol may be frozen and both sides asked to choose new symbols and party names. Here’s a look at three such cases of abrupt party splits so far:
1) In 2011, the Uttarakhand Kranti Dal, a recognised state party, split and both factions laid claim to the symbol of a chair. But with elections in January the following year, the EC didn’t have enough time to verify signatures and majorities. It approved Uttarakhand Kranti Dal(P) as the name with the symbol ‘cup and saucer’ for one group led by Trivender Singh Pawar and Jantantrik Uttarakhand Kranti Dal with ‘kite’ as the new name and symbol for the faction headed by Diwakar Bhatt.
2) In 1999, when the Janata Dal split, both factions again laid claim to the symbol of a wheel. But the symbol was frozen by the EC. The Janata Dal (United) was given the symbol “arrow” while the Janata Dal (Secular) was given the symbol “farmer driving a tractor”.
3) In 1969, the Indian National Congress split into the Congress (O) led by the old guard and the Congress (R) led by former prime minister Indira Gandhi. The old guard were allowed to retain the original party symbol of a pair of bullocks with a yoke while Gandhi chose the new symbol of a cow suckling a calf.
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