Though the Election Commission’s decision on Friday to endorse Eknath Shinde’s claim on the Shiv Sena name and bow-and-arrow symbol came as a huge setback for Shiv Sena Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray party leaders and workers, former chief minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray is determined to fight this battle till they win.
The poll panel said Shinde, who became chief minister after a revolt in the Shiv Sena, was supported by MLAs with 76 per cent of the party’s winning votes in the 2019 Maharashtra assembly polls.
Uddhav Thackeray has called the EC order “unfortunate and not in favour of democracy". He has asked his cadres not to give up as “the party will fight this battle till the end with the traitors". In a press conference, he said, “Soon we will be approaching the Supreme Court to challenge the decision of the Election Commission."
Experts say after losing the party name and symbol, Uddhav Thackeray may approach the Supreme Court, by Monday, against the EC order and try to get a stay on it till the time the SC hears the matter.
The Uddhav camp may ask the top court to first hear the disqualification plea against Shinde group MLAs.
If the SC gives an order against Uddhav Thackeray, then he may have to approach the Election Commission with a new name of the party and options of a symbol from a verified list, experts say.
Eknath Shinde, who has got the Shiv Sena name and symbol, is planning to conduct the party’s internal elections. As on January 23, Uddhav’s term as Shiv Sena president had ended. The Election Commission had not given a nod to Uddhav Thackeray to conduct the internal elections, so he was continuing as party president. But as Shinde has got the numbers with him, he may try to become party president and take control of the Shiv Sena organisation, sources say.
Following the Election Commission’s order, there is a buzz in Maharashtra’s political corridors that municipal polls may be announced soon, including for the Mumbai corporation BMC.
Senior political analyst Sanjay Jog said, “Uddhav has given a call to his party workers that they have to fight this battle till the end because he himself had said in the press conference that there is a chance that he may lose the current name of the party and symbol ‘flaming torch’ allotted by EC after the split. In such a scenario, Uddhav has to approach the Election Commission with a new name for his party and symbol, and he has to face elections."
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