The battle in the Yadav clan today shifted to Delhi with rival camps planning to approach Election Commission to claim control over the 'cycle' symbol even as SP patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav postponed the January 5 party convention called by him.
"Cycle symbol is ours," asserted Mulayam and asked party cadres to focus on winning the assembly elections likely to be announced any day now.
Mulayam, who postponed the SP convention scheduled in Lucknow on January 5, said, "No one can accuse me of wrongdoing. I have never indulged in corruption or betrayed anyone. Cycle symbol is ours."
The Mulayam camp is likely to meet senior EC officials between 4 PM and 5 PM in Delhi.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who yesterday sought to take control over the SP, remained closeted with his confidants and is expected to meet party leaders and legislators at this residence in Lucknow.
Sources said Ram Gopal might represent Akhilesh when he takes up the symbol issue with the EC.
In a series of tweets, SP leader Shivpal Yadav, the warring uncle of Akhilesh, maintained that Mulayam is the SP national president even now.
Shivpal gave no reasons for the abrupt postponement of the party convention, but insiders said perhaps the Mulayam camp was apprehensive of a poor turnout compared to the massive gathering at the "convention" held by Ram Gopal Yadav yesterday. The convention was declared illegal and unconstitutional by Mulayam.
The Samajwadi Party yesterday split down the middle with the faction headed by Chief Minister Akhilesh removing Mulayam as party chief and appointing him in his place at a convention in which the group claimed support of the majority of legislators and district units.
The two sides had engaged in mutual recriminatory expulsions with the convention called by Ram Gopal removing Akhilesh's warring uncle Shivpal as state party chief, and showing the door to "outsider" Amar Singh, who has been blamed for the feud in the Yadav clan.
Mulayam had retorted by again expelling his cousin Ram Gopal for six years along with national vice president Kiranmoy Nanda, who chaired the convention, and general secretary Naresh Agarwal for taking part in it.
Amar and Shivpal this morning reached Delhi to fine tune the strategy to ensure that the symbol remains with Mulayam ahead of assembly polls in the state.
Talking to reporters after returning from London, Amar said, "I was and will remain with Mulayam Singh Yadav. I was a hero but I am now ready to become a khalnayak (villain) for him."
Asked about his expulsion from the party by the Akhilesh camp, Amar said he will be "hurt" only if Mulayam says anything against him.
Shivpal, who has been removed as the UP unit chief of SP by the Akhilesh camp, said he would continue to be with Mulayam. "I will be with Mulayam till my last breath," he said upon his arrival in Delhi.
The two, along with Mulayam and a few other leaders, will meet in the afternoon before approaching the Election Commission to ensure the symbol remains with Mulayam and is neither frozen or given to the Akhilesh camp.
Nanda today said Mulayam is leader of all samajwadis and they will contest assembly polls under Akhilesh Yadav.
"Netaji (Mualayam) is leader of all of us samajwadis. We will contest assembly polls under our national president Akhilesh Yadav, who is our Chief Minister and has done a lot of work for the state," Nanda, who was sacked by Mulayam from the party for attending Ram Gopal's convention, told reporters here.
On Amar Singh, Nanda said, "He wants to break heart of 'netaji'. He is used to visiting London, Paris, America...What can is say about him..."
When asked about Shivpal, he said, "What can he do. He is with 'netaji'. We all are also with netaji..."