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Factions move to collect documentary evidences, gather support as Sena battle shifts to EC court

On Tuesday, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar, following the Supreme Court’s decision on the issue, had said that the commission will be relying on “rule of majority” while deciding which faction was the “real” Shiv Sena.

Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission of India, Rajiv Kumar, Uddhav Thackeray, Eknath Shinde, Mumbai news, Mumbai city news, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Maharashtra government, India news, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsA political expert said, “Every party has its own constitution and the majority of the leaders decides the leader or chief who controls the outfit. This all happens based on the constitution. When the matter will come in front of ECI, these affidavits and membership numbers will play vital role for both the camps to prove majority.”

With the battle over who will control the Shiv Sena and hold the right to use its electoral symbol – a bow and an arrow — moving to the Election Commission of India (ECI), both the factions of the party — led by Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde – are now in the process of preparing documentary evidences and letters of support from maximum number of party workers, leaders and elected representatives, which would be submitted to the poll panel to prove majority.

On Tuesday, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar, following the Supreme Court’s decision on the issue, had said that the commission will be relying on “rule of majority” while deciding which faction was the “real” Shiv Sena.

“There is a set procedure (of ECI). That procedure mandates us and we define it in terms of a very transparent process by judging and applying ‘the rule of majority’. We will apply the rule of majority whenever we are looking at it. This will be done after reading the exact decision (the SC passed on Tuesday),” Kumar had told media persons in Gujarat.

The Shinde faction had filed a plea in the commission seeking allocation of the party’s “bow and arrow” election symbol to it and the recognition as the “real” Shiv Sena.

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The Thackeray led Sena, however, had filed a plea in SC requesting it to put a stay on the ECI hearing. The Apex court rejected the petition.

Earlier too, the ECI had asked both the factions to submit documentary evidences, including letters of support and other documents to prove they are the original Sena.

According to political experts, to prove majority before the ECI, documentary evidences such as letters of support, membership forms, and affidavits will play a crucial role when the matter will come up for hearing in front of the poll panel.

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The ECI will also be looking at whether there is a vertical split in the party, which is not only limited to the MLAs and MPs but also includes party’s national executive committee and office bearers of all the districts in the state and the country.

Considering these aspects, the Shinde camp has been on a spree to “poach” workers, leaders and elected representatives of Thackeray led Shiv Sena to their side and expand its faction, according to some leaders of Thackeray faction.
For their part, the Thackeray led Sena, in order to prove that a majority of party workers and office bearers are still with them, has been getting “loyalty affidavits” signed from workers besides roping in fresh members to show the maximum strength of the party.

The Shinde faction too has begun preparing affidavits signed from those who have pledged support along with roping in new members.

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These documents will be submitted at the ECI following which a hearing will take place.

Forty out of a total of 55 Sena MLAs and 12 of 19 Lok Sabha MPs have switched to the Shinde camp over the last few months. While this proves that Shinde camp has over two-third parliamentary majority, it does not make it clear if he has any control over the Shiv Sena organisation.

“Other documentary evidences like minutes of national executive meetings, resolutions, (proof of) appointment of Thackeray as Shiv Sena president and the rights given to him will also be submitted by the Shiv Sena in the ECI,” a Sena leader said while insisting the other faction had no evidence or documents since they were “just a breakaway faction” which didn’t have any “structure or existence to claim itself as Shiv Sena”.

On the other hand, a Shinde faction leader said, “We also have over 1.5 lakh of membership documents, which we will be submitting in the ECI. We have recognition from Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha as we have the majority of representatives. These all evidences will be submitted before the ECI.” The leader said the national executive committee of the Shinde faction has already appointed Shinde as its president.

A political expert said, “Every party has its own constitution and the majority of the leaders decides the leader or chief who controls the outfit. This all happens based on the constitution. When the matter will come in front of ECI, these affidavits and membership numbers will play vital role for both the camps to prove majority.”

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Another expert said the whole process will take at least three to four months and the poll symbol is likely to get frozen until then.

First published on: 28-09-2022 at 10:51:03 pm
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