Battle of symbols: Shinde faction of Shiv Sena happy as Uddhav complains

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Supporters of Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction hold Two Swords and Shield, the new party symbol allotted to the party by the Election Commission (EC) for contesting in the upcoming Maharashtra by-elections, in Thane on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

Our Bureau
Mumbai/New Delhi

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday allotted the ‘two swords and shield symbol’ to the Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena and allotted ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’ (Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena) as its name ahead of the bypoll. The faction led by Uddhav Thackeray was allotted ‘flaming torch’ (mashaal) election symbol and name of ‘ShivSena – Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray’

The poll panel had earlier barred the rival groups from using the symbol “bow and arrow”.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday exuded confidence in winning the upcoming Andheri East Assembly bypolls with the new ‘Two Swords & Shield symbol’ approved by the Election Commission, and said that Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sainiks are “happy”.

The remarks of the Chief Minister came after ECI on Tuesday allotted the ‘Two Swords and Shield symbol’ to the Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena a day after the group was allotted ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’ (Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena) as the name for the group of the party. “This ‘Two Swords & Shield symbol’ is an identity of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and people know about it. Balasaheb’s Shiv Sainiks are happy today. We will contest the election on this symbol and we will win,” Shinde said.

The Shinde faction had submitted ‘shining sun’, ‘shield and sword’ and ‘Peepal tree’ as its election symbol options to the Election Commission (EC) for the upcoming bypoll in Andheri East assembly constituency next month.

However, the EC said that the symbols furnished by the Shinde faction are not from the list of free symbols as notified in the Commission.

Giving the reason for not allotting Sun/Surya/Sooraj as a symbol, the Election Commission said, “The Name of the symbol resembles with already reserved symbols ‘Sun (without rays)’ and ‘Rising Sun’ of recognized Political Parties namely ‘Zoram Nationalist Party’ (recognized party in the state of Mizoram) and ‘Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’ (recognized party in the state of Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Puducherry) respectively.”

“The Commission has decided to declare Do Talwarein aur Ek Dhal (Two Swords & Shield)’ to be a free symbol and allots it as the symbol to be allotted to the candidate set up, if any, by your group in the current bye-elections and till the final order is passed in the Dispute case number I of 2022,” the EC added in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

Whereas the ‘flaming torch’ (mashaal) election symbol was allotted to the Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena, rejecting their claim to the ‘Trishul’ citing religious connotation.

The Election Commission also allotted ‘ShivSena – Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray’ as the party name for the Thackeray faction.

Meanwhile, the ECI rejected ‘Trishul’ and ‘Gada’ (mace) as election symbols claimed by the two factions of the Shiv Sena, citing their religious connotation.

The poll panel had earlier barred the rival groups led by former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minster Eknath Shinde from using the symbol “Bow and Arrow”, reserved for Shiv Sena, in the upcoming Andheri East bye-election on November 3.

Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday wrote to the Election Commission raising objections to its recent decisions concerning the two factions ahead of next month’s bypoll in East Andheri seat.

In a letter, Thackeray’s lawyer said that several communications and actions of ECI have given a rise to a “serious apprehension of bias in the mind of the respondent” (Uddhav Thackeray faction). Eknath Shinde had taken oath as Chief Minister earlier this year following a split in Shiv Sena. The two groups are contesting over “bow and arrow” symbol of Shiv Sena which has been frozen by the Election Commission ahead of the East Andheri and has given them new names and new symbols.

The letter by the Uddhav Thackeray faction raised objection against recent decisions in the matter of allotment of interim election symbol and name to the party.

“The respondent’s apprehension was confirmed when he came to know that the petitioner had also very tellingly given the same first choice of name, and the same first and second choice of symbol as the respondent, thus, effectively precluding the respondent from being allotted his first choice of name and the first and second choice of symbol.

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