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  India   All India  03 Jan 2017  Like SP, TDP too fought over ‘cycle’ in 1995

Like SP, TDP too fought over ‘cycle’ in 1995

Published : Jan 3, 2017, 1:46 am IST
Updated : Jan 3, 2017, 7:32 am IST

Interestingly, the TDP’s poll symbol is also cycle.

N.T. Rama Rao
 N.T. Rama Rao

Hyderabad: The crisis in the Samajwadi Party, where two claimants are seeking recognition as the ‘original party’ and having the right to use the party’s symbol, the cycle, is reminiscent of the N.T. Rama Rao-Chandrababu Naidu tussle in the Telugu Desam in August 1995. Interestingly, the TDP’s poll symbol is also cycle.

The Election Commission, then chaired by the redoubtable Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan, had ruled in Mr Naidu’s favour after a thorough inquiry. In that case, the verdict came well before the May 1996 general election, in December 1995. In the case of the ongoing crisis in the Samajwadi Party, the row has erupted when elections for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly are just a few weeks away, and the EC may not have time to go into the merits of the case.

“It may take five to six months for the Election Commission to decide on the claims by the Samajwadi Party groups,” said former Election Commission adviser K.J. Rao.

Like it happened in the case of the Telugu Desam Party, the Election Commission has to allot dates for conducting hearings on the claims, hear a majority of legislators, MPs, politburo members, district and block level party units, and allow arguments by the respective advocates.

“It is a time-consuming process. The EC may freeze the election symbol temporarily till it decides which group should get it, and allot temporary reserved symbols to both the groups contesting the coming Assembly elections,” said a former election commissioner who did not want to be named. In 1995, when the majority group led by Mr Naidu in the Telugu Desam had revolted against founder and president of the party N.T. Rama Rao, and removed him from the posts of party president and chief minister, NTR had written to the governor saying he wanted to wind up the party and as party president could do so. Before he could do that, Mr Naidu cleverly organised a general body meeting of the Telugu Desam Party in Basant Talkies where a resolution was passed removing NTR from the party president’s post and electing Mr Naidu in his place.

When NTR met the governor, the latter informed him that he had been removed as party president.

Based on this, the EC served notices to the NTR-led faction and conducted a series of hearings, arguments and counter arguments before deciding in favour of Mr Naidu. Mr  Naidu requested Ms Renuka Chowdary, a party MP then, who had been suspended by NTR, to help him out in the crisis, promising she would be back in the party, and she obliged.

She used her clout in Delhi, and played a key role in the Election Commission’s decision. “Yes, I moved heaven and earth in those days and helped Naidu to retain the original party status and the symbol. Thereafter I differed with him on other issues and left the party,” Ms Chowdary said.

Tags: chandrababu naidu, election commission, uttar pradesh assembly
Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad