Mumbai: In a significant development, Shiv Sena-UBT President Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday appealed to the Election Commission to give its decision on his party’s name ‘Shiv Sena’ and its ‘bow and arrow’ poll symbol only after the verdict on the disqualification of 16 rebels by the Supreme Court on February 14.
In October 2022, the EC had frozen the name ‘Shiv Sena’ and its ‘bow and arrow’ symbols amid counter-claims by the Thackeray group and the splinter faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Later, in view of an Assembly seat bypoll in Mumbai in November 2022, the ECI allotted the Thackeray group the name of Shiv Sena-UBT and symbol of a ‘flaming torch’, while the Shinde group got the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena name and ‘two swords and shield’ symbol.
Reiterating his complete faith in the law, the ex-Chief Minister said that “we are fully confident that the 16 MLAs (including Shinde) will be disqualified” by the apex court at the next hearing due after a week (February 14)”.
Accordingly, Thackeray, speaking to media persons here this afternoon, flanked by senior leaders Subhash Desai, Anil Desai and others, called upon the EC to give its decision on the party poll symbol only after the SC case outcome.
The arguments by both sides have been completed before the EC and they have also made their written submissions on their respective claims.
The SC’s Constitution bench will start the hearing of the disqualification of the 16 Sena rebels and other related issues from February 14.
In a direct snub, Thackeray also said that there’s “only one Shiv Sena” and he doesn’t recognise any other faction – referring to the BSS headed by Shinde.
He described them as “traitors” who had backstabbed the “real Shiv Sena” to grab power in June 2022 after the rebellion which brought down the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government comprising Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.
Ridiculing the BSS’ claims that they are the real Sena as they had “more elected people” (MLAs & MPs), Thackeray said if this was so, “then tomorrow, anybody with money power including industrialists can become the Prime Minister or Chief Minister”.
Thackeray rued how these days anyone can become the PM or CM using money power which poses a “threat to democracy”, and urged the SC to deliver its judgement in the Shiv Sena case soon.
Reacting, Shinde said he had full faith in the legal procedures and since the EC is an independent body, he wondered how Thackeray could advise them when to give their verdict.
Another BSS leader Rahul Shewale slammed Thackeray saying he was misleading on the issue of internal party elections and asked him to provide the footage of the polls.
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