Battle of symbols: Uddhav cries foul as EC hands over Shiv Sena to Shinde faction  


Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray addresses a gathering outside Matoshree at Bandra in Mumbai on Saturday (ANI Photo)

Thackeray says the thieves have been given the holy “bow and arrow” and that this is their test

Our Bureau
Mumbai/New Delhi

In a major setback to the Uddhav Thackery faction of Shiv Sena, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday allotted the party name “Shiv Sena” and the symbol “Bow and Arrow” to the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. Both factions of Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray) have been fighting for the bow and arrow symbol of the party since Shinde (present Maharashtra Chief Minister) revolted against Thackeray last year.

While the Shinde faction welcomed the decision of being recognized as the real Shiv Sena, the Uddhav Thackeray faction said they will move the Supreme Court.

The Uddhav Thackeray faction accused the Election Commission of haste and said the decision shows “it works as BJP agent”. Exuding confidence of winning the election with the ‘torch’ symbol, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday challenged Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde to contest the election with the “stolen bow and arrow”, stating that the ‘battle has begun’.

Shiv Sena (UBT) president Thackeray addressed his supporters on Saturday outside Matoshree. He further said that the thieves were given the holy “bow and arrow” and that this is their test.

“Thieves were given the holy ‘bow and arrow’, similarly the ‘torch’ (mashaal) can be taken away. I challenge them – if they are men, come in front of us even with the stolen ‘bow and arrow’, we will contest the election with the ‘torch’. This is our test, the battle has begun,” Thackeray said.

Thackeray further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs the mask of Balasaheb Thackeray to come to Maharashtra but the people of the state know which face is real and which is not.

“I would like to say that they want the face of Balasahev Thackeray, they want the election symbol but not the family of Shiv Sena. PM Narendra Modi needs the mask of Balasaheb Thackeray to come to Maharashtra. People of the state know which face is real and which is not,” said Thackeray.

Last month, both the Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and former CM Uddhav Thackeray-led factions of the Shiv Sena submitted their written statements in support of their claims of control over the party name and symbol to the Election Commission.

Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief Sharad Pawar remarked on the loss of the “bow and arrow” symbol of his ally Uddhav Thackeray faction on Friday, stating that it would not have any major impact.

He also stressed that the people would accept the new symbol. Pawar’s remarks came after Election Commission of India (ECI) ordered that the party name “Shiv Sena” and the party symbol “Bow and Arrow” will be given to the Eknath Shinde faction.

The NCP chief asked Thackeray to accept the Election Commission’s decision and take a new symbol.

He recalled the Congress having to change its symbol from two bullocks with a yoke to hand and said that the people would accept the new symbol of Uddhav Thackeray faction like the way they accepted the Congress’ new symbol.

“I remember Indira Gandhi also faced this situation. Congress used to have a ‘two bullocks with a yoke’ symbol. Later they lost it & adopted ‘hand’ as a new symbol & people accepted it. Similarly, people will accept the new symbol (of Uddhav Thackeray faction),” he said.

In another shocking development, Shiv Sena Uddhav Thackeray faction leader Sanjay Raut on Sunday alleged that deals and transactions worth Rs 2000 crore have been done so far to get the Shiv Sena party name and its “bow and arrow” symbol.

“The party, the leader and the dishonest group bid Rs 50 crore for MLAs, Rs 100 crore for MPs and Rs 50 lakh to 1 crore to buy our councillors. How much it would bid to take our name and symbol, you decide? My info is Rs 2,000 crore,” he said while addressing a press conference.

“I have informed the nation with my tweet. The way our symbol and Shiv Sena’s name have been taken is not just, it’s a business deal for which Rs 2000 crore worth of transactions are done within 6 months. And this is my initial estimate,” said Uddhav Thackeray faction leader.

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