Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 9 (ANI): The Election Commission (EC) should wait for its decision on the original Shiv Sena party symbol until the Supreme Court gives its order on the disqualification of rebel MLAs, Former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena president (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray faction) said on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference at his residence 'Matoshri' in Mumbai, Uddhav Thackeray said "Some people believe that the top court should first give its order on the disqualification of MLAs who disobeyed the party's whip and we are firm on receiving it this month. ECI and SC are both independent bodies. I am confident and ready for the order of the Election Commission but until the top court decides on the disqualification of Rebel MLAs, the EC should wait."
Staying firm on his stand and terming Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde-led Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena faction as a 'Traitors faction', Thackeray said quoting "experts" that this matter of disqualification must be taken up on priority.
"The experts also say that this is a clear matter of disqualification, so the results on the disqualification matter must be taken up first. This traitors' faction says that they have numbers and the party belongs to them but this cannot be right as anyone can buy and form party. We have submitted all the affidavits of our party members with ECI and I don't believe that there are two Shiv Sena," he said adding that they wanted to conduct the party's presidential polls on January 23, as Thackeray's tenure has ended, but they (UBT) have not gotten any reply from the ECI.
The ECI had frozen the bow and arrow symbol of the Shiv Sena and had allotted the 'Two Swords and Shield symbol' to the Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena and the 'flaming torch' (mashaal) election symbol was allotted to the Uddhav Thackeray faction for the bypoll in Andheri East assembly constituency in November last year.
He further said that the arguments regarding the Shiv Sena symbol are now over in the apex court and the Election Commission has asked the faction to submit their documents. We have submitted all the documents before ECI, he added.
Urging the body to wait for the Supreme Court's decision on rebel MLAs of the Shiv Sena, Thackeray further said, "This Traitor faction has many wings in it which is not the Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena was founded as per the rules of the ECI and we have already asked for the party president polls but have got no response from the EC."
He also said that if the future of a political party in the country is decided on the basis of its public representatives, then it would be easy to buy any Prime Minister, Chief Minister or the entire party, which is an absolutely wrong precedent.
In November last year, Uddhav Thackeray had moved a writ plea in the Delhi High Court against the ECI decision to freeze Election Symbol of Bow and Arrow. However, the plea was dismissed by the court.
Notably, EC passed the interim order saying in Andheri East bypolls, neither of the two groups shall be permitted to use the symbol "Bow and Arrow", reserved for "Shiv Sena".
The scuffle pertains to the political crisis that followed the bulk desertion of rebel Sena MLAs and eventually resulted in the demise of the Uddhav-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
The apex court will, from February 14, start hearing arguments on whether the batch of petitions filed by rival Shiv Sena factions led by CM Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray should be heard by a seven-judge bench or a five-judge bench.
On June 20, 2022, Thackeray was surprised when he realised that Eknath Shinde had flown to Surat in BJP-ruled Gujarat along with 11 MLAs. They were put up at the luxury hotel, which had turned into a fortress of sorts with nearly 400 policemen guarding it.
Amid growing speculation about the rebel camp's intentions, Shinde broke his silence and said that all the MLAs remained "staunch Shiv Sainiks" and "would never betray the ideals of Balasaheb" (the Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray for power. Later, Shinde decided to shift its camp to Goa.
Shinde took oath as the Maharashtra CM on June 30, 2022, and proved his majority in the state Assembly on July 4, 2022. (ANI)