Eknath Shinde quit voluntarily, can't claim Sena symbol: Uddhav Thackeray to EC panel
Mumbai/IBNS: In a battle for who gets the Shiv Sena party name and symbol, former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray Friday told the Election Commission that the faction led by Eknath Shinde cannot claim the bow-and-arrow symbol as they had "voluntarily quit the party".
The commission had asked team Thackeray to respond to the claim by Eknath Shinde on the symbol for the upcoming assembly by-poll in the Andheri East segment, the first such contest since the Thackeray government was unseated in June.
Eknath Shinde, who became Chief Minister following a mutiny allegedly backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has the majority of the party's legislators on his side in the assembly and Parliament.
His group has even managed to get its members recognised as Shiv Sena leaders.
However, Uddhav Thackeray, who technically remains the party chief, has told the panel that the Shinde camp's legislators should not be counted as there is a disqualification plea against them before the Supreme Court.
He is now collecting affidavits of support from party members, the target of which is over 5 lakh, to hold on to the party his father, Bal Thackeray, founded over 50 years ago.
Shinde, too, claims Bal Thackeray's "true legacy of Hindutva".
A court battle is on over whether the anti-defection law can unseat Shinde and his MLAs.
To their advantage, they have a two-thirds strength among party legislators to avoid disqualification.
But the Election Commission looks at the support of party units, too — hence, the affidavits.