India’s election commission on Monday resolved a feud that had split one of the country’s most powerful political dynasties, by granting the politician Akhilesh Yadav his party’s most recognizable asset: the image of a bicycle. In a democracy that is home to 287 million illiterate people, the simple party symbols that appear on ballots often matter more to voters than the candidates’ names do. “Lots of people just look at the symbol and vote,” said K.F. Wilfred, the principal secretary for judicial affairs at the election commission. “When they don’t have a permanent symbol, that political party’s brand image just goes out the window.”
For the Samajwadi Party of the state of Uttar Pradesh — led for years by Mr. Yadav, 43, and his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav — that symbol was the bicycle. Akhilesh Yadav, who is now the state’s chief minister, fell out with his father after firing two ministers charged with corruption and was briefly expelled from the party. The father and son were each seeking complete control of the bloc and the image.
The election commission ruled that, because most of the party’s legislators supported the younger Mr. Yadav, he can use the bicycle in coming state polls. He rode a Mercedes bicycle to campaign in 2014, trailed by his security detail, and has spoken publicly about its significance as a symbol.
Full Article: Akhilesh Yadav, Indian Politician, Wins Right to Use Bicycle as Election Symbol – The New York Times.