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In big setback for Uddhav Thackeray, EC recognizes Shinde faction as real Shiv Sena, allots party symbol Shiv Sena

In big setback for Uddhav Thackeray, EC recognizes Shinde faction as real Shiv Sena, allots party symbol

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 17 Feb 2023, 09:07 pm

Mumbai/UNI: In a major setback to Uddhav Thackeray, the Election Commission of India (ECI) Friday recognised the Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's faction as the real Shiv Sena and allowed them to use the traditional party symbol of bow and arrow.

In a 78-page order, the commission said Shinde, who became Chief Minister 8 months back after the revolt, was supported by MLAs with 76 per cent of the party's winning votes in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls.

The EC allowed the faction led by Uddhav Thackeray, whose father Bal Thackeray founded the Shiv Sena in 1966, to keep the 'flaming torch' poll symbol allotted last year.

Reacting to the decision, Uddhav Thackeray said: "This order is a murder of democracy."

"They have stolen the Shiv Sena symbol. We will keep fighting and won't lose hope. For now, let Shinde be happy with his theft. Once a traitor, always a traitor," Thackeray said.

Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena MP from Thackeray's team, said, "Such a decision was expected. We don't have faith in the Election Commission."

Meanwhile, Shinde said "I thank the Election Commission. The majority counts in democracy. This is the victory of Balasaheb [Thackeray]'s legacy. Ours is the true Shiv Sena," Shinde said.

"We had a big struggle," Shinde added emotionally.

Following his rebellion in June last year, when Eknath Shinde flew away with most lawmakers of the party with the help of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), eventually ousting Uddhav Thackeray's state government, the two sides have been fighting for the party's identity.

Later, the Election Commission froze the bow-and-arrow symbol of the Shiv Sena and allotted the 'two swords and shield' symbol to the Eknath Shinde faction and the 'flaming torch' symbol to the Uddhav Thackeray camp.

In November last year, Thackeray requested the Delhi High Court to overrule the Election Commission. However, the plea was dismissed by the court.

Last month, the factions led by Shinde and Thackeray filed their written statements in support of their claims over the party's name and symbol with the poll body.