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Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray-led Sena faction lists 3 preferences for alternate party symbol

None of the three symbols listed by the Uddhav-led Sena are available in the latest list of free symbols on the EC's website.

Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray. (File Photo)

A DAY after the Election Commission (EC) issued an interim order freezing the ‘bow and arrow’ election symbol of the Shiv Sena, the faction led by Uddhav Thackeray wrote to the poll panel on Sunday listing three options – trishul (trident), rising sun and mashaal (torch), in order of preference – as its alternate poll symbol for the high-stakes November 3 Andheri (East) Assembly bypoll.

It also suggested three interim names for the party — Shiv Sena (Balasaheb Thackeray), Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) and Shiv Sena (Balasaheb Prabodhankar Thackeray), in order of preference.

In its interim order, based on a plea filed by the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, the EC had asked both sides to furnish by Monday “the names of their groups by which they may be recognised by the Commission”, and “indicate the names of three free symbols”.

None of the three symbols listed by the Uddhav-led Sena are available in the latest list of free symbols on the EC’s website.

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In a four-page letter to the EC, the party has said that it should be allotted the trishul (trident) even if it is not in the list of free symbols, adding that it is not used by any recognised state or national party. “It is submitted that the current free symbols available in the list of free symbols are not at all reflective of the ideology, ethos and principles of Shiv Sena party and, as such, cannot be an appropriate vehicle/ symbol to depict the aspirations and the values of the political party,” says the letter.

The party has also objected to “the peculiar situation in which the (EC’s) order of freezing has been passed without giving us any opportunity of hearing”.

“We also would like to register our strong objection to the manner in which the interim order dated 08.10.2022 came to be passed by this Hon’ble commission without affording any opportunity of and hearing or without considering that no prejudice was being caused to the petitioner Eknath Shinde, as the group led by Shinde was not putting up any candidate. Further, our specific application to grant us oral hearing has not even been adverted to in the order. It is submitted that instant order of freezing of symbol, without affording opportunity of oral hearing, has been passed by the Commission for the first time in the history of symbol disputes under the Symbols Order,” says the letter.

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Addressing a Facebook Live in the evening, Uddhav listed the three symbols and names chosen by his party. “First of all, it is an injustice that the symbol has been frozen. I was not expecting this order from the EC, when the issue of disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs is already pending in the SC… I request the EC to give us one of the three symbols and names we have submitted, at the earliest, so that we can go to the court of the people. Whatever the people decide, we will accept. We are not scared,” he said.

“We have already sent a letter to the EC giving our preferences for the symbol,” said Arvind Sawant, South Mumbai MP and a leader of the Uddhav-led group.

The Shinde-led group has not submitted its list of party symbols yet. “The EC decision is an injustice to us. We are still firm on our stand of staking claim to the bow-and-arrow, as it’s our right. We are the real Shiv Sena… We are sad that the symbol has been frozen,” said state minister and Shinde faction spokesperson Deepak Kesarkar.

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He alleged that the symbol was frozen as the Uddhav-led faction did not submit its reply to the EC on time.

First published on: 09-10-2022 at 17:05 IST
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