NEW DELHI: The Election Commission (EC) on Saturday barred both Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena and the rebel group led by Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde from using the party’s name or the ‘bow and arrow’ poll symbol in the upcoming Andheri East byelections on November 3.
The decision comes four months after Shinde broke away from the Shiv Sena and tied up with the BJP to replace Uddhav as chief minister. The new CM quickly launched a campaign to claim Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray’s legacy as well as the party’s name and poll symbol.
Choose new symbols, names by October 10: EC
In an interim order on the ongoing factional feud within the party, the EC said: “Both groups shall also be allotted such different symbols as they may choose from the list of free symbols notified by the Election Commission for the purposes of the current byelections. Accordingly, both groups are hereby directed to furnish the details, latest by 1pm on October 10.”
“Both the groups will be known by such names as they may choose, including, if they so desire, linkage with their parent party Shiv Sena,” the order stated.
The EC said the interim order was passed to “place both the rival groups on even keel and to protect their rights and interests”.
The order was passed while considering a petition filed by Shinde for official recognition of his faction as the official Shiv Sena under the Election Symbols Order, 1968.
On September 27, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had rejected a plea made by the Uddhav group seeking a stay on the proceedings before the EC initiated by Shinde.
Battle over legacy
Both leaders held separate Dussehra rallies in Mumbai recently wherein Uddhav called Shinde a “traitor”, while the latter tried to portray himself as the leader of the ‘real Shiv Sena’.
“This [Shiv Sena] is not your [Uddhav Thackeray] private limited company. The Shiv Sena is of shiv-sainiks who have given their sweat for it. Not for people like you, who did partnerships and sold it. You [Uddhav] went against your father’s Hindutva, should we now call you traitors?” said Shinde.
Shiv Sena ‘shocked’
Shortly after the EC issued the interim order, Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai said the decision has come as a “shock”. “We had expected the EC to carefully go through all the documents submitted before taking a decision. The decision was taken in a letter within hours,” he said.
Echoing the sentiment, Shiv sena leader Chandrakant Khaire said: “We are sad and angry with the decision. Shiv sainiks are angry that the party founded by Bal Thackeray has come under attack by a traitor.”
Shiv Sena leader Anil Parab, however, said the party was expecting such a decision. “We will submit options on the name and symbol to the EC. We were expecting this decision. We will win Andheri East seat.”
(With inputs from agencies)