Uddhav Thackeray loses Shiv Sena's name, symbol to Eknath Shinde
The battle over the claim of being the "real" Shiv Sena between the party's two factions has taken a new turn. After the Election Commission of India (ECI) allotted Sena's name and symbol to Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde-led camp, ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray is set to move the Supreme Court. Reacting to the order, Thackeray—son of Sena founder Bal Thackeray—termed it a "murder of democracy."
Why does this story matter?
- The development comes around eight months after Shinde—once Thackeray's loyal commander—broke away from the erstwhile Sena.
- He joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to topple Thackeray's government claiming the party had strayed away from the political path laid down by Bal Thackeray.
- The factions led by Thackeray and Shinde were allotted new names and symbols before Mumbai's East Andheri by-election in October.
Once a traitor, always a traitor: Thackeray on Shinde
The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the decision on Friday by releasing a 78-page order, saying Sena MLAs with 76% of the winning votes in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections backed Shinde. It also held the changes made to the Sena's constitution in 2018 as "undemocratic," saying it centralized the party's control. Referring to Shinde, Thackeray said, "Once a traitor, always a traitor."
Ours is real Shiv Sena: Shinde
Shinde welcomed the decision by thanking the ECI and saying the majority always counts in a democracy. He called it "a victory of Bal Thackeray's legacy," and added, "Ours is the real Shiv Sena." His supporters celebrated the order with firecrackers in Mumbai and across the state. Reports say Shinde is now likely to hold party elections which would make him the Sena chief.
Thackeray requested ECI to wait for SC decision
Thackeray said he urged the ECI to wait for the Supreme Court's decision as "in future, anyone can buy MLAs or MPs and become chief minister or prime minister." He said, "The truth will prevail one day," adding the SC was their "last hope." Thackeray camp's MP Sanjay Raut said, "We don't have faith in the Election Commission," claiming that the decision was expected.
Bal Thackeray formed Shiv Sena in 1966
Bal Thackeray, a cartoonist, founded Shiv Sena in 1966 as a regional party advocating for Marathi natives over migrants. In the 1970s, it grew out of the regional tag by allying with the BJP and its coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). After the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections, however, it cut ties with the BJP accusing it of not fulfilling its promises.