Lucknow: Racing against time, Samajwadi Party leaders on Wednesday made eleventh hour efforts to restore peace in the ruling party with Azam Khan taking the lead, meeting party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav separately but failed to make any headway.
The efforts were unlikely to yield any positive result as SP National General Secretary Ramgopal Yadav ruled out any chance of "patch up" and trashed reports of such a move as "rumours".
Hours before the Election Commission announced the polls schedule for Uttar Pradesh Assembly, the urgency to broker peace appeared palpable in the faction-ridden party so that the vertical split in the organisation does not create confusion among voters as to which was the real SP.
After late night confabulations to hammer out a compromise formula came a cropper, Khan made fresh efforts this morning when he reached Mulayam's residence. He discussed for over four hours with Mulayam and Shivpal Yadav and also met Akhilesh separately at his 5-Kalidas Marg residence. As both the factions -- one headed by SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav and the other by his son Akhilesh Yadav -- staked claim to the party's "cycle" symbol saying they were the real Samajwadi Party, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said he was examining claims of different factions of SP and will decide after taking a view based on precedents and set principles.
"The Commission, as per the symbol order, while keeping in mind precedents and set principles followed till now, will examine the documents before us and will take appropriate decision at the right time," Zaidi said. In the last two-three days, the EC has received representations - one from Mulayam Singh Yadav and the other from Ram Gopal Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav. The factional war in the ruling Samajwadi Party of Uttar Pradesh reached the Election Commission a day after Mulayam Singh Yadav was deposed from the post of the party president by the group headed by his son Akhilesh.
The split in SP was formalised on Tuesday with the Akhilesh camp approaching the EC to assert the party is "actually" headed by him now and not its founder Mulayam who had knocked the doors of the poll panel a day before to lay claim on 'cycle' symbol. Hours after his camp staked claim over the party and its election symbol "cycle", Akhilesh drove to his father's residence and was with him for over two hours, leading to speculation about patch-up efforts.
But, the chief minister's camp discounted those efforts, saying it was "too late".
Experts said as an interim measure, the poll panel may freeze the cycle symbol and ask the two factions to contest on new symbols. It may also give the two sides new name to contest the polls till the time a final decision is taken on the real "ownership" of Samajwadi Party and its symbol "cycle".