Death of Democracy, says Thackeray, as EC gives Sena to Shinde
EC ordered the allocation of the name Shiv Sena along with the 'bow and arrow' poll symbol to the Shinde-led faction.
In a press conference held after the Election Commission (EC) recognised the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led faction as Shiv Sena, former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray called it the “death of democracy”. He appealed to the people and opposition parties to defend democracy and not be mute spectators to its murder.
Ahead of the much-discussed by-polls in Pune and Primpri-Chinchwad, the EC ordered the allocation of the name Shiv Sena along with the 'bow and arrow' poll symbol to the Shinde-led faction on Friday. Both sides have termed this day as historic, albeit for different reasons.
Thackeray also spoke of the possibility that the government might declare Mumbai municipal elections in a couple of months. “Why is the world’s largest party afraid of holding elections” he questioned.
Last month, both factions filed their written statements in support of their claims over the party's name and symbol with the EC. Thackeray questioned why did the EC make them carry out all the exercise if they were going to determine the real party based on the number of elected leaders.
“Why did they ask us to show the number of members, why did they ask us to file affidavits? If these decisions are to be made based on the number of elected members, then any wealthy person can buy MLAs MPs and take over the state or even the entire country and become Prime Minister,” he said.
In a 78-page order, on Friday, the EC said that Shinde was supported by MLAs with 76 percent of the party's winning votes in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls. It allowed the Thackeray faction to keep the 'flaming torch' poll symbol.
ECI recognises Eknath Shinde faction as Shiv Sena, alloys Bow and Arrow symbol to his camp pic.twitter.com/i5j8DMPCgX— Arvind Gunasekar (@arvindgunasekar) February 17, 2023
He also questioned why the EC rushed with the decision while the decision on the validity of the factions is still pending in the Supreme Court, further saying that he will approach the Supreme Court challenging this decision soon.
“Let them be happy for now. We will soon go to the SC. We have faith in the judiciary. I do not think this will affect the Supeme Court decision in the ongoing case. We believe the decision will be on our side,” he added.
Earlier, reacting to the decision, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut termed this decision is the beginning of an end for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “The people of Maharashtra will avenge this. This is the beginning of the end of BJP and Shinde faction. BJP has taken over central agencies to make decisions suited ot them. But this will end. Fascism always meets its end,” Raut said.
Comparing the Shinde-led faction to Kauravas, he said, “They are giving Shiv Sena in the hands of Kauravas, just because they have numbers. Kauravas had the numbers too. But who won the war in the end? The real Shiv Sena is among the people, not MLAs. How are they going to buy loyal leaders from all over the state?”
Last year, ahead of the high stakes Andheri (East) by-polls in November, the EC had frozen the name 'Shiv Sena' as well as the poll symbol 'bow and arrow' forbidding both factions from using it, until the final determination of the dispute in the matter. The Thackeray-led faction was then named 'Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray)' and was allotted 'flaming torch' as its poll symbol. The Shinde-led faction was named 'Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena' and its poll symbol was 'two swords and a shield'.
Meanwhile, celebrating the decision, Shinde has termed this as the victory of democracy, a victory of majority and that of the ideologies of Bal Thackeray and Anand Dighe.
Deputy CM and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis also reiterated that he stood by the statement since the beginning that this (Eknath-Shinde-led) is the real Shiv Sena. “Eknath Shinde is taking the ideology of Shiv Sena ahead. No one can claim the party as their private ownership. Those who take Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideology ahead, Shiv Sena is theirs.”
Expressing shock over the EC decision, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule said, “I had never seen Emerdtionalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule said, “I had not seen the Emergency, but heard a lot about it. How can we trust the EC now? When the Shiv Sena Founder Balasaheb Thackeray had declared Uddhav Thackery as the next Shiv Sena chief, how can they make such a decision now?”