INDIA. Mumbai: The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday declined to postpone the EC’s order to recognise the Shinde side as the “True Shiv Sena,” saying that the Shinde faction had already prevailed before the EC. This was a defeat for former Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray.
However, in response to the petition filed by Thackeray, challenging EC’s order, the SC directed the Shinde faction to file its reply within two weeks to the queries raised by the Thackeray camp about the party title and poll symbol. As a pre-emptive step, the Shinde faction had filed a caveat in the SC stating that it should be heard before any order is passed by the apex court in the matter.
The EC, in its order issued on Monday, awarded the Shiv Sena name and the bow-and-arrow symbol to the Eknath Shinde camp. However, Thackeray, in his petition, claimed that the strength of any party is based on its organisational strength and not the strength of the legislative wing.
EC’s decision cannot be one-sided in a dispute between two factions. He had also expressed apprehension that the rival group would stake a claim on Shiv Sena’s tangible and non-tangible properties since the Shinde faction has already taken over office premises in Maharashtra State Legislature and Parliament. Besides, the Shinde group may compel Thackeray camp legislators to follow its whip.
The three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Dhananjay Chandrachud, however, allowed the Thackeray group to use the symbol of a flaming torch till further orders. The EC had allowed the Thackeray group to use the name Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and the flaming torch symbol till February 26.
The by-polls for Chinchwad and Kasba peth Assembly constituencies are slated to be held on that day. “EC order is confined to a symbol. We are entertaining the Special Leave Petition (SLP). We cannot stay the ECI order today,” CJI Chandrachud said.
Following the split, on July 8, 2022, Thackeray declared that his faction would maintain possession of the Shiv Sena’s “bow and arrow” insignia in accordance with the law. The EC ordered the Thackeray and Shinde groups to stop using the name “Shiv Sena” or its symbol until official recognition was made public on October 8, 2022.
Both sides were unable to use the symbol because it was blocked. The ECI then gave the Thackeray faction the name “Shiv Sena-Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray” and the Shinde faction the name “Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena” (Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena). It was decided to give the Uddhav group the “flaming torch” insignia (Mashaal).
Strength of two factions
Based on the documents submitted to the EC, the strength of the two factions stands as follows: National Executive Committee members: Thackeray(160), Shinde(52), Organisational members: Thackeray (2,82,975), Shinde ( 711), Primary members: Thackeray (19,41,815), Shinde (450364). The total strength of both factions: Thackeray ( 22,24,950) and Shinde (4,51,127).
The Shinde faction was able to demonstrate that it had the backing of 40 out of 67 MLAs and MLCs in Maharashtra, as well as 13 out of 22 MPs in both Houses of Parliament, according to the three-member EC’s 77-page order.
In comparison to the 23.5% received by the MLAs in the Thackeray camp, the EC said that the 40 MLAs of the Shinde group received 76% of the votes cast by the 55 Shiv Sena MLAs in the 2019 elections.
Also Read: Former Union Minister and NCP Leader Praful Patel Set to Lose Property Worth Crores