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Thackery vs Shinde: EC bars both camps from using Shiv Sena name, symbol

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The Election Commission on Saturday passed an interim order in which it has barred both the Shiv Sena factions led by Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde from using the party name and symbol in the Andheri East assembly bypoll.

“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 bye-elections, the EC in its order said.

The Commission has directed both the groups to furnish, latest by 1:00 pm on October 10, choices of names and symbols for their groups which may be allotted to them.

The Commission can allocate the name and the symbol to both factions from the options submitted.

The interim order came on Saturday on the Shinde faction’s request seeking it be allocated the symbol as the Andheri East assembly bypoll is approaching.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena on Saturday termed the Election Commission’s order barring the rival factions of the party from using the party name and election symbol as “injustice.”

The poll body should have taken a decision in a holistic manner rather than passing an interim decision for the bypoll, said Ambadas Danve, Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council who owes allegiance to the Thackeray group. “This is injustice,” he told news agency PTI.

After the EC’s order, Aditya Thackeray in a tweet wrote, “Boxed traitors today have done a despicable and shameless act of freezing Shiv Sena name and symbol. The people of Maharashtra will not tolerate this. Will fight and win! We are on the side of truth! Satyamev Jayate.”

The rival factions had approached the Commission after the split in the Shiv Sena ranks in June, claiming to be the ‘real Shiv Sena’.

The Commission had earlier asked the rival groups to submit documentary proof on legislative and organisational support by 8 August to back their claims. The deadline was extended to October 7 after the request of the Thackeray faction.

On 4 October, the Shinde faction had moved the EC seeking the allocation of the bow and arrow poll symbol in view of the Andheri East assembly by-election that was notified on Friday.

The Thackeray faction had submitted its response to the claim on Saturday and had sought four more weeks to carefully understand the documentation submitted by the rival faction.

The Commission said the interim order was necessary to address the statutory spaces generated by the schedule of bye-elections notified on October 3.

Accordingly, in order to place both the rival groups on an even keel and to protect their rights and interests, and going by precedence, the Commission said neither of the two groups be permitted to use the name of the party Shiv Sena.

“Both the groups shall be known by such names as they may choose for their respective groups, including, if they so desire, linkage with their parent party ‘Shivsena’,” it said.

The EC said the interim order will continue and “till the final determination of the dispute”.

The last date for filing nominations for the November 3 bypoll is October 14.

The fresh claim to the ‘bow and arrow’ election symbol by the Shinde faction is seen as an attempt to deny its use by the Thackeray group which has decided to field Rutuja Latke, the widow of MLA Ramesh Latke, for the bypoll.

The BJP, an ally of the Shinde faction, has decided to field Murji Patel, a corporator in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, for the bypoll necessitated due to the death of Ramesh Latke.

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

The interim order was issued after the Commission, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar net this afternoon.

The Andheri East bypoll is the first after Shinde and the BJP unseated the MVA government in June, and is considered by political analysts as a precursor to settling of claims by Shinde and Thackeray to be the “real Shiv Sena.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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