The feud in the Samajwadi Party over the party symbol has now reached the Election Commission as supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav prepares for a meeting with the EC at 4:30 pm on Monday.
Mulayam will be joined by Shivpal Yadav and Amar Singh, along with Ram Gopal Yadav who will be representing Akhilesh Yadav at the meeting.
SY Quraishi, former Election Commissioner, stated that according to the Election Symbol Order (1968), the party’s name and symbol can be frozen for now. At the same time, both factions of the party could be given ad-hoc titles like Samajwadi Party (M), Samajwadi Party (a), since this is a quasi-judicial matter.
The Election Commission does not take into cognizance such matters on its own. Thus, the second faction will be sent a notice once the first faction has approached the EC. Additionally, in such a situation, the process of reaching a conclusion might take four-five months.
What Does the Law Say?
According to the law, Mulayam Singh Yadav seems to be the stronger of the two factions. According to the party constitution, only the president has the power and the right to call a session of other members.
Translation of highlighted text: On a request of the members, an especial session of the national conference (of party members) can be called by the national president (of the party) at any point.
The decision of the national president (of the party) cannot be challenged in any court of law.
Following this, Mulayam can declare Akhilesh’ SP coronation unconstitutional. At the same time, according to clause - 17 of the party constitution, in case of absence of the president, the assembly can be presided over by the vice president.
On 1 January, Akhilesh Yadav had included Kiranmoy Nanda, the vice-president of SP, in the national session of the party. Based on this, Akhilesh’s faction can attempt to prove the constitutionality of the session.
Translation of highlighted text: In the absence of the party president, the national matters or the national conference will be presided over by the vice-president. From time to time, the vice-president will perform all these duties based on the rights provided to him by the president.
According to the guidelines provided by the president, it is the responsibility of the general secretary of the party to prepare and execute the proceedings of the session/especial session of the party. His duties will also include providing the description of the work to be done for the national conference by the national executives (of the party).
In this case, the EC may ask the two factions to prove a majority. Following this, Akhilesh may ask the EC to let him prove majority. Mulayam, in return, can demand that Akhilesh’s coronation be declared illegal and that his own appeal is given preference instead.
The EC Can Freeze Party Name and Symbol
The Election Commission has the power to freeze both the party name ‘Samajwadi Party’, and the party’s symbol, the cycle. Both factions will have to face the brunt if such a situation develops.
(This story originally appeared on QuintHindi and has been translated by Rosheena Zehra.)