Ball in ECI court as both factions submit replies over ‘real Shiv Sena’ claim | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Ball in ECI court as both factions submit replies over ‘real Shiv Sena’ claim

BySaurabha Kulshreshtha, Mumbai
Jan 31, 2023 04:55 AM IST

The battle over the original name and election symbol of Shiv Sena reached a decisive stage on Monday with both factions submitting their replies to the Election Commission of India (ECI)

The battle over the original name and election symbol of Shiv Sena reached a decisive stage on Monday with both factions submitting their replies to the Election Commission of India (ECI). The poll panel is expected to give its verdict in a few days.

Bal Tahckeray statue at Regal Cinema, in Mumbai.(PTI)
Bal Tahckeray statue at Regal Cinema, in Mumbai.(PTI)

In its submission, the group headed by chief minister Eknath Shinde has claimed support of 199 members in the 281-member national executive. The Uddhav Thackeray-led faction, on the other hand, has disputed this claim and said as many as 170 members are still standing with it.

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Following a split in June 2022, both the factions had moved the ECI. The panel last October froze the name and symbol - bow and arrow - till a final decision on the dispute. Meanwhile, it allotted temporary names - Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena to Shinde with two swords and shield as symbol and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) to Thackeray with flaming torch as symbol. The ECI then asked the two factions to submit their written replies to buttress their ‘real Shiv Sena’ claims.

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On Monday, Sena (UBT) leader Anil Parab said the party organisation is still with Thackeray because only a group of MPs and MLAs has defected to the rival faction.

“We have the backing of majority of the office-bearers and national executive members. We have submitted about three lakh affidavits by office-bearers and 20 lakh affidavits by primary members to the ECI,” he said.

Thackeray faction’s submission also said that the election of Shinde as chief leader of the party was invalid as there was no such post in Shiv Sena constitution.

Leaders who pledge their loyalty to Shinde, however, claimed that recognition to a party depends on the votes it has received in elections and as majority of MPs and MLAs are with the CM theirs should be recognised as the original party.

“We have highlighted the importance of having MPs and MLAs on our side. We have also explained that Shinde’s election as chief leader is valid and he is elected as per procedure,” MP Rahul Shewale told reporters.

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He also alleged that Thackeray changed the Shiv Sena constitution. “We have given all details to the ECI. It is expected to give its verdict soon.”

The 199 national executive members, who the Shinde faction has claimed to have support of, comprise 4 leaders, 6 deputy leaders, 13 MPs, 40 MLAs, 49 zilla pramukhs, and 87 vibhag pramukhs.

However, the other group alleged that the numbers were bogus. “As per constitution of Shiv Sena only Mumbai has 12 vibhag pramukhs and they are the members of the national executive. But the Shinde faction has showed support of 87 by appointing vibhag pramukhs in other districts of the state which is invalid and unconstitutional. In fact, of the 281 members, 170 are with Thackeray,” the faction’s submission said.

As Monday was the last day for submissions, Thackeray sent his reply by e-mail while Shinde submitted a 124-page reply in the ECI office.

Now, the ECI will verify both the claims and deliver its verdict.

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