Maharashtra Excise Minister Shambhuraj Desai, who also is chief minister Eknath Shinde’s close confidant on Wednesday claimed that the Shinde camp will get the bow and arrow symbol. "However, if we do not get the bow and arrow, plan B is ready as we are fully prepared for the future course of action for the upcoming elections,’’ he said.
The minister admitted that it will take some time to reach out to the voters with a new symbol but that won’t be a problem as they have already reached up to the shakhas and villages. Desai thereby has indicated that a large number of Shiv Sainiks from the Thackeray faction have expressed their faith and confidence in chief minister Eknath Shinde and have left Thackeray to join him. Shinde has been himself appointed as the Chief Leader of Shiv Sena in the newly constituted national executive.
Desai’s statement came hours after a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will hear on September 27, an application of the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction seeking to restrain the Election Commission from deciding on the claim of the Shinde-led group over the "original" Shiv Sena party. Desai has also hinted that the Shinde camp is fully geared up for the upcoming elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and 14 other civic bodies, 25 Zilla Parishads and other rural local bodies.
Thackeray faction and Shinde camp are engaged in a legal battle and both have staked claims over the bow and arrow symbol. Shinde camp has reiterated that it is the real Shiv Sena while the Thackeray faction strongly countered the former’s claim.
‘’We will get the bow and arrow symbol. We have the majority as the majority of MLAs, MPs, corporators, Zilla Parishad members and Sarpanch are with us (Shinde camp). We have a majority of elected representatives from the people. So hopefully we will get the bow and arrow symbol. We have faith in the judiciary,’’ said Desai, who was elected to the state assembly from the Patan constituency in Satara district, and was the Minister of State for Finance, Excise, Home (rural) in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.
‘’People know who is an ardent proponent of Hindutva and who has resolved to pursue it along with the thoughts of Balasaheb Thackeray and Anand Dighe. Without naming Uddhav Thackeray he claimed the faction led by him has deviated from Hindutva and joined hands to assume power with NCP and Congress which was criticised by party supremo Balasaheb Thackeray,’’ said Desai adding that the people have supported their move to join hands with BJP and form the government in Maharashtra.
‘’Thackerays will definitely inherit the wealth and family. However, we (Shinde camp) are the real heirs of Balasaheb Thackeray and ardent advocates of his thoughts,’’ noted Desai.
On the alliance between the Shinde camp and MNS, Desai said the decision will be taken by their leader and Cm Eknath Shinde. "The Shinde camp has 40 MLAs. CM has been authorised to take the decision with regard to the alliance. We are of the firm view that there should not be a division of Hindutva votes,’" he opined.
Further speaking about the customary Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park on October 5, Desai claimed that it will be held by non-other than the Shinde camp. His statement came when the Thackeray faction also staked a claim on Shivaji Park for the rally.