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'Shinde Group Voluntarily Left Sena, Can't Claim Bow & Arrow': Thackeray Ahead of Andheri East Bypoll

By: News Desk

Edited By: Oindrila Mukherjee

News18.com

Last Updated: October 07, 2022, 20:56 IST

Mumbai, India

The EC has asked the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction to respond on Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde's fresh claim on the Shiv Sena's 'bow and arrow' poll symbol. (Image: PTI/File)

The EC has asked the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction to respond on Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde's fresh claim on the Shiv Sena's 'bow and arrow' poll symbol. (Image: PTI/File)

The EC is yet to decide whether the Eknath Shinde faction or Uddhav Thackeray camp gets the party name as well as the ‘bow and arrow’ poll symbol

The two Shiv Sena factions – one led by Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and the other by his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray – will go head to head in their first electoral contest in the approaching bypoll for the Andheri East assembly segment in Mumbai. But, the Election Commission of India is yet to decide which camp gets the party name as well as the ‘bow and arrow’ symbol, as claimed by both in pleas.

In this fight, Thackeray on Friday said Shinde could not claim the ‘bow and arrow’ symbol as the former party strongman and other MLAs on his side had “voluntarily" quit the party.

“The Shinde group has voluntarily left the Shiv Sena. Hence, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has clarified that he cannot claim the party or the party symbol. #Shivsena," party mouthpiece Saamana tweeted.

The Thackeray camp’s lightning-fast reply about its position in the matter came after the poll panel asked the faction to respond by Saturday on the rival Shinde group’s fresh claim to the Sena’s ‘bow and arrow’ election symbol in view of the upcoming bypoll. The EC’s directive came earlier in the day after the Shinde faction submitted a memorandum seeking that it should be allocated the poll symbol.

The Andheri East bypoll is the first test of the Shinde faction’s popularity among the masses after the Thackeray camp won the court battle earlier for holding its Dussehra rally at the tranditional Sena venue Shivaji Park. The chief minister had to hold his camp’s event at the MMRDA ground in Bandra Kurla Complex.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government was dismantled in June, when long-time Sena loyalist Shinde and a group of MLAs branched out and joined forces with the BJP. Backed by the saffron party, he became CM with Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy.

Shinde, however, has a majority of the Sena legislators on his team. His faction’s members are even recognised as Shiv Sena leaders. The CM claims that his faction is the “real Shiv Sena” as it stands true to founder Balasaheb Thackeray’s “Hindutva legacy”. Over 40 of the Sena’s 55 MLAs had supported Shinde, forcing Thackeray’s resignation from the post of CM. Later, 12 out of 18 of the party’s Lok Sabha MPs also came out in support of Shinde.

Uddhav, who is technically still the chief of the Shiv Sena, is collecting affidavits of support from party members to solidify his position. His target is to gather over five lakh affidavits as the EC also considers support from party units.

In a letter to Thackeray, the EC directed his faction to furnish comments along with requisite documents latest by 2 pm on October 8. “In case no reply is received, the commission will take appropriate action in the matter accordingly," the EC said. The poll panel told Thackeray that the Shinde faction staked claim to the ‘bow and arrow’ on October 4. The Andheri East bypoll was notified on Friday.

Sena leader Anil Desai, who belongs to the Thackeray faction, said the party will respond to the EC within the stipulated time. He met poll officials earlier on Friday to submit documents in connection with a separate matter, where the Shinde faction had claimed to be the “real Shiv Sena" citing support of majority members of the Lok Sabha and the state assembly.

The Thackeray group has decided to field Rutuja Latke, the widow of MLA Ramesh Latke, for the November 3 bypoll. The BJP, an ally of the Shinde faction, has decided to field Murji Patel, a corporator in the BMC, for the bypoll necessitated due to Ramesh Latke’s death.

The Congress and the NCP have decided to support the candidate of the Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena, their coalition partner in the MVA.

(With PTI inputs)

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first published:October 07, 2022, 20:10 IST
last updated:October 07, 2022, 20:56 IST