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I’m original, Senas claim; come back Monday, says EC

Updated on: 21 January,2023 08:00 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dharmendra Jore |

After hearing the arguments from the two factions’ representatives, Election Commission of India asks for written submissions from them

I’m original, Senas claim; come back Monday, says EC

Uddhav Thackeray. File Pic/Ashish Raje (right) CM Eknath Shinde. File Pic/Rane Ashish

The Election Commission of India (ECI), after hearing the warring Shiv Sena factions on Friday, asked them to file their written submission on Monday. The poll panel spent almost four hours with the representatives of both the groups before scheduling the next hearing on January 30.

The Shiv Sena factions argued point by point before the ECI, dismissing each other's claims, especially over the party’s constitutional provisions. Since the Shinde group has challenged the presidency of Uddhav Thackeray, calling it unconstitutional, and has refused to accept the amendments to the party rulebook, the Thackeray faction posed a question to the opponent: under which provision was the CM elected as the chief leader of the party.

Senior lawyers Kapil Sibal and Devdutt Kamat represented the Thackeray faction, while Mahesh Jethmalani and Maninder Singh argued on behalf of the Shinde group. Aggressive arguments and war of words were reported from the hearing. The continued hearing was important in view of the Thackeray group’s demand that it be allowed to hold internal elections to reinstate him as the party president or let his tenure continue even after his five-year-term ends on January 23.  

The Thackeray group said that its executive that elected Thackeray as the party president five years ago was legit, whereas the Shinde group did not have any such body. It told the chief election commissioner (CEC) that the Shinde faction was not a political party, because it had not fulfilled the terms and conditions laid by the EC, unlike the Thackeray Sena, which is legal.

Also Read: Maharashtra: Case on Shiv Sena split still undecided

It further argued that the MLAs left the party without speaking their mind in a democratic manner on the party platform. The representatives of the Thackeray group challenged the appointments of leaders made by the CM’s group and accused the rebels of making false statements. The Shinde group said it wasn’t wrong to part ways, and added that even they have the right to have the executive.

Jethmalani told the CEC that the undivided Shiv Sena had contested the polls in a pre-poll alliance with the BJP and yet it formed a government with other parties, thus disrespecting the mandate. He said the quitting of Shinde and other MLAs amounted to a split in the party. The splinter has followed the party’s constitution, he argued, adding that his client was the original party and it should be given the official election symbol of bow and arrow.

The two factions had moved the EC to stake claim to the parent party and its official symbol. In the process that followed, the CEC froze the symbol and allotted new ones to the groups, which were also barred from using the original name.A separate case about the disqualification of MLAs and subsequent formation of BJP-Shinde Sena government in June last year is being heard by the Supreme Court, which has slated the next hearing for February 14.

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