The Election Commission of India on Friday ordered that the party name “Shiv Sena” and the party symbol “bow and arrow” be retained by the Eknath Shinde faction.
The Election Commission of India observed that the present constitution of Shiv Sena is undemocratic. The election body said, “It has been perverted to undemocratically appoint people from a circle as office-bearers without holding any elections. Such a party structure fails to inspire confidence.” When Eknath Shinde staged a coup in June 2022, two factions emerged in the party. The party split between supporters of Uddhav Thackeray and Ekant Shinde.
In a 78-page order on the protracted battle for control of the organisation, the commission allowed the Uddhav Thackeray faction to keep the allotted ‘flaming torch’ election symbol till the completion of the assembly bypolls in the state.
The Election Commission found that the constitution of Shiv Sena as amended in 2018 has not been given to the Election Commission of India. The amendments had undone the task of introducing democratic norms in the 1999 party constitution brought in by the late Balasaheb Thackeray at the commission’s insistence, the poll body observed.
The Election Commission also observed that the undemocratic norms of the Shiv Sena’s original constitution, which was not accepted by the commission in 1999, “have been brought back in a covert manner, reducing the party to a fiefdom”.
On the Election Commission’s decision to recognize his faction as the real Shiv Sena, CM Eknath Shinde said, “It is a victory for the ideology of Balasaheb Thackeray.”
The commission noted that the MLAs supporting Eknath Shinde got about 76 per cent votes in favor of Shiv Sena’s 55 winning candidates in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections.
The three-member commission said in a unanimous order that the MLAs of the Uddhav Thackeray faction got 23.5 per cent votes in favor of the victorious Shiv Sena candidates.