Uddhav Thackeray loses the battle
In a big blow to Uddhav Thackeray, the Election Commission on Friday allotted the name ‘Shiv Sena‘ and its poll symbol ‘bow and arrow‘ to the group led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. Meanwhile, Uddhav Thackeray said he will approach Supreme Court on Monday against the Election Commission’s decision through Special Leave Petition.
In a unanimous order on the six-month-old petition filed by Shinde, the three-member Commission allowed the Thackeray faction to retain the name Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and the ‘flaming torch’ poll symbol, given to it in an interim order last year, till the conclusion of ongoing Assembly by-polls in the state.
Shinde described the EC verdict as a “victory of truth and people as well as blessings of Balasaheb Thackeray” while Sanjay Raut, who is with Thackeray, said the Commission decision to recognize the Shinde faction as the real Shiv Sena was a “murder of democracy” and his party will “go to the people.”
This is for the first time the Thackeray family has lost control of the party founded in 1966 by Balasaheb Thackeray on the principles of justice for the sons of the soil.
Later, the party adopted Hindutva as its key ideology and partnered with BJP till 2019 when Uddhav Thackeray broke the alliance to form the government with the help of the NCP and the Congress. Shinde broke ranks with Thackeray in June last year and formed the government in alliance with the BJP.
“The party name ‘Shiv Sena’ and the party symbol ‘Bow and arrow’ will be retained by the petitioner faction,” the Commission said in the 78-page order. It said the name of “Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena” and symbol of “Two swords and Shield”, allotted to the Shinde faction in October last year, will now be frozen with immediate effect and will not be used.
The Commission said it applied the principles of the ‘Test of party Constitution‘ and the ‘Test of Majority’ while finalizing the order. The Commission said MLAs backing Shinde got nearly 76 percent of votes polled in favour of the 55 winning Shiv Sena candidates in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls.
The Thackeray faction’s MLAs got 23.5 percent of votes polled in favour of the winning Shiv Sena candidates, said the order of the Election Commission.
The Commission said the respondent (Thackeray faction) had relied heavily on the 2018 Constitution of the party to stake claim to the poll symbol and the organization but the party had not informed the Commission about the amendment to the Constitution. “The amended Constitution of 2018 is not on record of the Commission,” the order said, and added that it found the party Constitution, on which the Thackeray faction was placing strong reliance, to be “undemocratic”.
“To put it in a nutshell, the party Constitution envisages the President nominating the Electoral College that is to elect him. This goes against the spirit of democracy and negates the very purpose for which the entire exercise was carried out,” the Commission said. It noted that the 2018 amendments had “undone the act of introducing democratic norms” in the party constitution of 1999 and the functioning of Shiv Sena, brought by Balasaheb Thackeray at the insistence of the Commission.
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Who were the lawyers for Udhav Thackeray ?