Contesting in Bihar for the first time, the Shiv Sena is faced with an unforeseen headache. Its bow-and-arrow symbol, it has realised, is the same as that of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. Since the Sena and the JMM are recognised as state-level parties of Maharashtra and Jharkhand, respectively, the symbol is not reserved for either of them. The claim of a JMM candidate, however, gets priority in the allotment of the symbol because the party had fought the last assembly election in the state in 2010, fielding 60 candidates, of whom one had been elected.
“We do have to contend with this problem, but wherever we have failed to get our symbol, we are trying to ensure people know who our candidates are,” Shiv Sena parliamentary party leader Sanjay Raut told The Indian Express.
Raut, who is the party’s election-in-charge for Bihar, said the Sena has announced the names of 37 candidates. The remaining names will be announced soon. He said the party will contest 150 seats.
About the election campaign, Raut said in response to a question that Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will not canvass in Bihar. However, his son and youth wing chief Aditya Thackeray may address some public meetings. Raut is being assisted by Rajya Sabha member Anil Desai in Bihar.
The Bihar poll entry comes amid muscle-felxing between the Sena and its ally the BJP ahead of the Mumbai municipal polls.