Eknath Shinde faction real Shiv Sena, says Election Commission

The Commission allowed the Uddhav Thackeray faction to keep the "flaming torch" poll symbol allocated to it till the completion of the assembly bypolls in the state.

Published: 17th February 2023 07:37 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th February 2023 09:10 AM   |  A+A-

Rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde. (Photo | PTI)

Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The faction of the Shiv Sena led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Friday got a shot in the arm as the Election Commission of India (ECI) allowed his group to retain the name ‘Shiv Sena’ and its symbol ‘Bow and Arrow’. The election body relied upon ‘the test of majority’ in the legislative assembly, as its test in the organisational wing had not yielded ‘determinable or satisfactory findings’.

In the affidavit filed by the Eknath Shinde group, it had claimed to have the support of 40 MLAs in the Maharashtra legislative assembly and 13 MPs in the Lok Sabha. As for the Uddhav Thackeray group, it had claimed the support of 15 MLAs and four MPs in the Lok Sabha besides the entire strength in the legislative council (12) and the Rajya Sabha (3).

Lauding the decision, Shinde said it was the victory of democracy. “This is the victory of Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideology. It is also the victory of MLAs, MPs and party workers who were with me,” he said. Thackeray said he would challenge the ECI’s ruling in the Supreme Court. “The Eknath Shinde faction has stolen a bow and arrow symbol. People will avenge this theft,” he said. He appealed to his followers not to give up the fight. “Let the thieves rejoice for a few days,” he said, reacting to the setback to his faction.

In its order, the ECI noted that the outcome of the majority test in the legislative wing clearly reflects ‘qualitative superiority’ in favour of the petitioner (Shinde). The party constitution, on which the Thackeray faction had placed strong reliance, was undemocratic, the ECI observed in its order.

As per submissions made by the both parties, the party constitution was amended in 2018 but wasn’t put on the record. Expressing its displeasure over the way amendments were introduced to the constitution, the Commission said there was a ‘democratic deficit’ in the amended charter. 

“The paradox of India being the world’s largest democracy and its political field being occupied by some parties which are being treated as fiefdoms is disconcerting. For a truly functioning democracy, it is important that one of the key stakeholders i.e., the political parties are run in democratic manner and this in turn can be ensured only if the Constitution being adopted by them does not allow concentration of power in the hands of a few. Therefore any reliance on the ‘test of party constitution’ for determining the present dispute case will be undemocratic and catalytic in spreading such practices across parties,” the order stated. 

Party constitution undemocratic: ECI
“To put it in a nutshell, the party Constitution envisages the President nominating the Electoral College that is to elect him. This goes against the spirit of democracy and negates the very purpose for which the entire exercise was carried out,” the Commission said


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