Buoyed by the EC order granting it the name Shiv Sena and the bow-and-arrow poll symbol, the Shinde group’s next big target is to take control of the party funds, currently held by the Uddhav Thackeray faction.
Though either faction is unable to come up with even a ballpark estimate of the corpus fund, some leaders indicate that it could be in the range of Rs 50-150 crore, mobilised over a period. This is a crucial factor, ahead of the upcoming elections to the 15 municipal corporations, including the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation, other civic and local bodies.
Shinde camp will soon decide how to claim the party funds
The Shinde camp is happy that the EC has allowed it to use the Shiv Sena name and the bow-and-arrow symbol while the Thackeray faction can keep the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) name and the flaming torch symbol until the by-elections to the Kasba Peth and Chinchwad assembly constituencies are concluded.
“In this backdrop, the party (Eknath Shinde faction) will decide on how to officially stake its claim on the party funds. This is quite natural, as the Thackeray faction is no longer the Shiv Sena and, therefore, not in a position to use the funds. The party’s national executive slated for Tuesday will deliberate on this issue and decide the future course of action, especially while keeping in mind the ongoing legal battle in the Supreme Court,” said a senior legislator and a close confidant of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Even though the Shinde camp has not officially declared its stand on staking its claim to the party funds, some leaders have been quite vocal on this issue. This is to financially weaken the Thackeray camp and have it start afresh.
Thackeray camp reacts
However, a senior leader from the Thackeray faction said, “The party funds comprise money mobilised through membership drives, electoral bonds and donations. It is used purely for political activities, including during elections. The funds have been kept in the party’s assigned account. The party has been filing annual income tax returns and giving its status to the EC in the prescribed format, through our chartered accountants.” He questioned how the Shinde faction could now stake its claim to the party funds given that a five-member Constitution Bench is commencing day-to-day hearings on the power struggle, starting from Tuesday.
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