‘ShivSena-Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray’ vs ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’: Sena factions get new names; Thackeray gets ‘flaming torch’ poll symbol

The Election Commission on Monday allotted the ‘burning torch’ (mashaal) election symbol to the Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray faction, rejecting its claim to the ‘Trishul’ citing a religious connotation.

In an order on the Shiv Sena dispute, the Election Commission assigned “ShivSena – Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray” as the party name for the Thackeray faction, and “Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena” (Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena) as the name for the Eknath Shinde group of the party.

The Commission also asked the Shinde faction to submit a fresh list of three symbols by 10 am on Tuesday.

The Thackeray faction welcomed the Commission’s order and started promoting its new name and symbol on the party’s social media.

“We are happy that the three names that matter most to us – Uddhav ji, Balasaheb and Thackeray – will be retained in the new name,” said Thackeray loyalist and former Maharashtra minister Bhaskar Jadhav.

Earlier on Monday, the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena faction had approached the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the Election Commission’s October 8 order freezing the party’s name and election symbol of “bow and arrow”.

The EC had said the interim order will continue “till the final determination of the dispute”.

Since the last date to file nominations for the November 3 by-election to the Andheri East Assembly seat is October 14, if both the factions decide to contest they will have to use the new symbols

The Commission also rejected ‘Trishul’ (trident) and ascending ‘Gada’ (mace) as election symbols claimed by the two factions of the Shiv Sena, citing their religious connotation.

He also pointed out that the ‘Rising Sun’ electoral symbol sought by both factions was reserved for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar is known to have taken a tough stance against assigning symbols with religious connotations to political parties.

The Commission noted that the “burning torch” symbol was previously assigned to the Samata party, which was deregistered in 2004. The Commission said it had decided to include the “burning torch” as a “free symbol” after of the request of the Thackeray faction. .

Rival factions of Shiv Sena had claimed ‘Trishul’ and ‘Rising Sun’ as election symbols. The rival factions had also listed ‘Shiv Sena – Balasaheb Thackeray’ as their first choice for the party name.

Team Thackeray leaders Vinayak Raut and Anil Desai were in talks with lawyers in the national capital about the party’s legal strategies as the Delhi High Court is likely to list the petition challenging the freezing of the name and symbol of the match to hear it later this week.

The Commission had barred the two factions from using the name ‘Shiv Sena’ and election symbol ‘bow and arrow’ in order to put the rival groups on an even keel and protect their rights and interests ahead of the Assembly polls of Andheri East.

Shinde had rebelled against Thackeray’s leadership, claiming the support of 40 of the Shiv Sena’s 55 MPs and 12 of its 18 members in the Lok Sabha.

After the resignation of Thackeray as the Prime Minister of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition, Shinde became the Prime Minister with the support of the BJP.

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