Poll panel allots bow-and-arrow symbol to it; flaming-torch for Thackeray faction
Geetanjali Minhas | February 18, 2023 | Mumbai
Ahead of the upcoming local body polls in Maharashtra including the prestigious BMC elections, the Election Commission of India has recognised the Eknath Shinde faction as the real Shiv Sena and allotted the party name and the symbol of ‘bow and arrow’ to the group. In another development, the Supreme Court has decided not to refer to a seven-judge bench the case on deciding the powers of the speaker as pleaded by the Thackeray faction.
Friday’s ECI order has come just days ahead of the February 26 by-polls in two Maharashtra assembly seats of Kasba Peth and Chinchwad.
The Thackeray group will retain the title of ‘Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)’ and the symbol of ‘flaming torch’.
In October 2022, the poll body had frozen the symbol and party name and allotted new interim names and symbols to both factions of Shiv Sena. A month later, the Thackeray-led faction moved a writ plea in the Delhi high court against this decision. However, the plea was dismissed by the court.
In its 78-page order on Friday, the EC said that the current constitution of the Shiv Sena was “undemocratic and mutilated to undemocratically appoint people from a coterie as office bearers without any election at all”. It said that the decision went in favour of the faction which had secured more votes. “MLAs backing Eknath Shinde polled nearly 76% votes…while Uddhav Thackeray faction MLAs got 23.5% votes.”
The Thackeray group called the EC decision a “blot on democracy”. It said that it was not surprised with the decisions and would challenge it the Supreme Court.
“We were expecting it. The manner in which this government was formed and the extent to which crores of rupees was used has become clear. This is a victory of money power. Truth has lost today,” said party leader Sanjay Raut.
“The party was founded by Balasaheb Thackeray and lakhs of Shiv Sainiks and now the symbol has been taken away by 40 MLAs who used money power. All constitutional arms of the country were behaving like slaves of the government. We would challenge the EC decision. We will take our party to the people and rebuild it,” Raut said.
On the other hand, chief minister Eknath Shinde said, “This is a victory of the ideology of Balasaheb and Anand Dighe. The decision has been given on merit. In a democracy the majority has to be respected. This is a victory of the lakhs of Shiv Sainiks with us along with the office bearers and MPs and MLAs with us.”
Deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said Shinde and the 40 MLAs followed Bal Thackeray’s ideology. “Now no one can claim the Shiv Sena as one’s private property. Only those who follow Balasaheb’s ideology can claim to run the party as the real Shiv Sena.
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