The Shiv Sena has written to the Election Commission (EC) requesting to allot an alternative party symbol for its candidates to contest the Bihar Assembly elections later this month. The EC had earlier disallowed the Sena from using its party symbol for elections in Bihar.
Sources in the Sena said party MP and secretary Anil Desai had last week sent a letter to the EC mentioning three symbols. The party is waiting for the EC’s response, which may come in next 2-3 days, sources said.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls last year, the EC had disallowed Shiv Sena and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) to use their party symbols, citing their similarity with the election symbol of Janata Dal (United). While JMM and Sena’s election symbol is ‘bow and arrow’, the election symbol of JD(U) is ‘arrow’.
Sources in the Sena said without an election symbol in Bihar, there is not much enthusiasm within the party about the assembly polls.
However, the decision to contest the limited number of seats was taken following the insistence from the local unit. “The party symbol makes a lot of difference in polls and certainly will have an impact on our vote share this time, but we will campaign extensively,” said Kaushalendra Sharma, Sena’s Bihar unit chief.
Sharma had met Sena chief and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray last week to finalise the number of seats to be contested by the party in Bihar. “The Sena chief has given us go-ahead to contest 50 seats. Our four candidates have filed the nominations today for the first phase of polls. Other candidates will file nominations for the second and third phase,” he added.
The Bihar assembly elections will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7.
While Thackeray, his son and Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, party MP and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut and 17 others have been named as star campaigners in the list submitted to the EC by party, sources said that the Sena chief may not travel to Bihar and is likely to address a few virtual rallies from Mumbai. The Sena will contest the polls on local issues, said sources.
“Raut and party MP Priyanka Chaturvedi have been given the responsibility to campaign for the candidates in all three phases,” Sharma added.
In 2015, the Sena had contested 73 out of 243 seats in Bihar on the party symbol and got 2.11 lakh votes in total.
The deposits of most of its candidates were forfeited as they could not secure the required number of votes in the election.
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