Shiv Sena row: Uddhav-faction may not get nod for ‘Mashaal’; must have new name & symbol ready

Shiv Sena row: Uddhav-faction may not get nod for ‘Mashaal’; must have new name & symbol ready

Uddhav Thackeray can use current name and symbol until kasba polls. He is set to plead before the Election Commission to be allowed to keep the current name and symbol. But if the EC rejects this plea, he will have to be ready with a new name.

Amey TirodkarUpdated: Monday, February 20, 2023, 09:11 AM IST
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Shiv Sena row: Uddhav-faction may not get nod for ‘Mashaal’; must have new name & symbol ready | file photo

Having been forced to cede his party’s name, Shiv Sena, and its symbol, the bow and arrow, to the CM Eknath Shinde-led faction, Uddhav must now think of a new name for his party, currently known as Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), symbolised by a flaming torch.

The name and symbol belong to this faction only till the end of the Kasba Peth and Chinchwad assembly bypolls in Pune, neither of which is being contested by his party.

Uddhav is set to plead before the Election Commission to be allowed to keep the current name and symbol. But if the EC rejects this plea, he will have to be ready with a new name. At the same time, Uddhav is also moving the Supreme Court to challenge the EC order over its allotment of the party name and symbol to Shinde.

Election Commission said Thackeray can use symbol and name until end of by-polls in Feb 17 order

The Election Commission of India, in its 78-page order on February 17, had clearly mentioned that Uddhav Thackeray could use the party name and symbol till the end of by-polls only. The election for the Kasba Peth and Chinchwad seats is scheduled on February 26.

Though Uddhav’s party is not contesting either seat, his alliance partners, the Congress and the NCP, are contesting both. It could be said that Uddhav has no personal stake in these polls. The Uddhav faction fears that the EC won’t allow them to use their current name Shiv Sena (UBT) and the flaming torch symbol.

Uddhav Thackeray, partymen deliberating over new name

Even Uddhav’s immediate address last Friday, after the EC order, suggested this. “Tomorrow, they won’t even allow us to have the ‘mashaal’ (flaming torch) but don’t be disappointed. We will win elections because the people are with us,” Thackeray told his partymen.

Therefore, it is likely Uddhav will make a plea to the EC to be allowed to keep the party name and symbol for all upcoming elections. “Now the ‘mashaal’is a known symbol and we would like to have it forever,” said Uddhav’s close aide and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut.

Talking about the name, Raut said they would request the EC to allow them to retain the current one. “But if it refuses, we will come up with a new name. Deliberations are on. We will wait and see what the EC says, first,” said Raut.

Samata Party oppose giving Uddhav flaming torch as symbol

Having a flaming torch as a symbol comes with its own burning issue. It was given to George Fernandes’s Samata Party in the late ’90s. Already, the Samata Party has complained to the EC not to give it to Uddhav. But it is not a recognised party in Maharashtra.

Uddhav will have to register the party as a state party. Only if the EC thinks along these lines, can Uddhav retain the flaming torch symbol. The BMC and nine other municipalities, 14 zilla parishads and 96 municipal councils will get the polls soon. The dates for these could be announced before May.

Uddhav to move top court against EC decision

Already, losing the symbol and party name has been a big blow for Uddhav. This being the case, further confusion over his party’s name and symbol will only hurt him electorally. This is why Uddhav and his colleagues would like to settle the issue at the earliest.

Meanwhile, he is also moving the SC against the EC order. His group believes that the EC order is ridden with contradictions. The Uddhav faction believes that it is not the legislative but the organisational arm that is supreme when it comes to control over the party. Team Uddhav wants to challenge the EC order citing a number of SC verdicts in the favour of the organisation.

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