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Indian Politician Wins Use of Bicycle Imagery, Symbolizing 'Balance'

A political feud over the image of the bicycle has just been resolved in the state of Uttar Predesh.
January 24, 2017, 5am PST | Elana Eden
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Pavel Laputskov

Rightful claim to the symbol of a bicycle belongs to politician Akhilesh Yadav, India's election commission has ruled. The case came about after a split in the Samajwadi Party left its leaders—a father and son—each seeking control over the party’s branding.

"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," explains the New York Times.

Now the elder politician, Mulayam Singh Yadav, will have to adopt one of a selection of unaffiliated symbols—like "a light bulb, a toffee, a pressure cooker, a sewing machine, ice cream, bread [or] cauliflower."

But for Yadav the younger, the bicycle represents the way of life he hopes to project to voters in the upcoming state elections.

"The cycle moves after you strike a balance, of pushing the pedal and holding the handle, and I feel that somehow the cycle teaches us something," he said in a recent speech. "If we move with as much balance as we do while riding a bicycle, we will be successful in life."

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Published on Monday, January 16, 2017 in The New York Times
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