By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Feb 18:
In one of the biggest jolt to Shiv Sena in its 57 year old history, the Election Commission of India (EC) allotted the title “Shiv Sena” and a poll symbol “Bow and Arrow” to the breakaway faction led by Eknath Shinde (now Maharashtra Chief Minister), on Friday.
While dealing with dispute (No 01 of 2022), the EC in its final order issued on Friday, February 17, noted that the current constitution of the Shiv Sena party was undemocratic. It was mutilated to undemocratically appoint people from a coterie as office bearers without any election at all. Such party structures fail to inspire confidence.
“The constitution of political parties ought to provide for free, fair and transparent elections to the posts of office bearers and a further free and fair procedure for the resolution of internal disputes. These procedures ought to be difficult to amend and should be amendable only after ensuring larger support of the organisational members for the same,” the ECI said.
The EC ruled that the Shinde faction will get the official name of “Shiv Sena” and the “bow and arrow” symbol of the party amid an ongoing tussle between the Shinde faction and the Uddhav Thackeray faction over these rights. The Shiv Sena founded on June 19,1966 by the Shiv Sena patriarch late Balasaheb Thackeray.
The rebellion on June 20 last year, spearheaded by Shinde and supported by the BJP, resulted in the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray government on June 29,2022. The two factions have been staking a claim on the Shiv Sena name and the original symbol of the bow and arrow, since then. The decision on the dispute pending in the Supreme court, is slated to be delivered on February 21.
Since the issue was pending with the EC, the bow and arrow symbol was frozen. For the Andheri Assembly bypoll, held in November last year, the two factions were allotted two different symbols — Shinde faction two swords and a shield, Uddhav faction flaming torch.
Reacting the EC ruling the Uddhav Thackeray faction MP Sanjay Raut said the EC has lost credibility with the order and Uddhav’s faction will now challenge the decision in the court.