Updated: Sat, 23 Jul 2022 11:53 AM IST
Amid the battle between Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray over the control of Shiv Sena, the Election Commission on Saturday asked both Shinde and Thackeray to submit documentary evidence to prove that they have the majority members in the Shiv Sena.
As per the Commission, both the groups have been asked to submit a reply by 1 p.m. on August 8 after which the Election Commission will hold a hearing regarding the claims and disputes between both factions of the Shiv Sena.
The two sides have been asked to submit documents, including letters of support from the legislative and organisational wings of the party and the written statements of the rival factions. The EC said that the requirements were made in line with Paragraph 15 of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
Both the factions have written to the poll panel staking claims to the party. The Uddhav Thackeray faction had written to the Commission on multiple occasions claiming certain members of the party had indulged in anti-party activities. It had also raised objections to the Shinde faction establishing any political party using the names 'Shiv Sena' or 'Bala Saheb'. The faction had further sought the removal of Eknath Shinde, Gulabrao Patil, Tanji Sawant, and Uday Samant from party posts.
On the other hand, the Shinde camp had also approached the poll panel staking claim under Para 15 of the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968, to declare the group led by Eknath Shinde as Shiv Sena and also allot the party symbol "Bow and Arrow" to the group.
Shinde has also told the Election Commission that 40 out of 55 MLAs, various MLCs, and 12 MPs out of 18 are with him. When two factions stake claims to the same symbol - the EC first examines the support each faction enjoys, both within the party's organisation and its legislature wing.
In such cases, the commission can also freeze the party's symbol and ask the two factions to register with new names and symbols. In case polls are around the corner, it can ask the two groups to choose a temporary symbol.
The Shiv Sena split last month when more than two-thirds of the party's MLAs withdrew their support from the Maharashtra government led by Uddhav Thackeray, throwing their lot with Shinde. Shinde was sworn in as Maharashtra Chief Minister on June 30 with the support of the BJP.
The claim over the symbol assumes significance as the Supreme Court had on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra State Election Commission to notify elections to local bodies within two weeks. Elections are due in several civic bodies in Maharashtra, including the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which would indicate which Sena faction gets the popular support.
(With Agencies Inputs)