Dusshera Rally: Why is it so important for Shiv Sena? Why has the rally become a legal battlefield between Thackeray and Shinde

Following a split and an ongoing dispute over the ‘real’ Shiv Sena, the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction is no longer on firm ground about holding the rally at Shivaji Park.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, September 22, 2022, 04:17 PM IST
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Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde |

The battle for the 'real' Shiv Sena between Uddhav Thackeray faction and Eknath Shinde faction doesn't seem to end anytime soon as the matter over the claim on the party is pending in the court and the Election Commission of India.

While the fight for the claim continues, for the last few weeks, both Thackeray and Shinde have indulged in another tussle over the Dusshera Rally. Shiv Sena for the last many years has been holding its rally at Dadar's iconic Shivaji Park.

Following the tragedic split and an ongoing dispute over the ‘real’ Shiv Sena, the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction is no longer on such firm ground about holding the rally at Shivaji Park. The Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which comprised the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, collapsed in June this year after a revolt led by Shinde against the Sena leadership.

Legacy of Sena's rally at Shivaji Park

The Dussehra rally has been a Sena tradition ever since Bal Thackeray founded the party in 1966.

On 30 October 1966, the firebrand patriarch of Shiv Sena used the Dussehra rally to lay out the agenda for the party’s leaders. After that, Shivaji Park became synonymous with Bal Thackeray’s famous speeches.

Following Bal Thackeray’s demise, Uddhav took over Sena and has been organising the Dussehra rally since 2013.

While Aaditya’s political innings began with the 2010 rally at Shivaji Park. In November 2019, Uddhav Thackeray took oath as the Maharashtra chief minister at the iconic park, where his father was cremated in 2012.

There have been some years when Shiv Sena was unable to hold its annual Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park.

In 2006, Shiv Sena could not hold its rally on Dusshera because of an incessant downpour and in 2009 due to the state Assembly elections.

Apart from these, the party also could not hold rally due to COVID-19 pandemic as lockdown and curbs had been imposed by the then Thackeray government.

Thackeray vs Shinde:

Three days ago, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray announced that the party will organise the Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park even if his camp does not get permission for the event.

“Shiv Sena’s Dussehra rally will be held at Shivaji Park in Mumbai. Shiv Sainiks from all over the state will reach for this rally. We do not know these technical things whether the government will give permission or not. We will rally,” Thackeray said.

Uddhav Sena had submitted a formal application to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on 22 August seeking its nod for the 5 October rally.

On the other hand, Eknath Shinde-led faction has also been preparing to hold a grand rally at Shivaji Park on Dussehra.

Deepak Kesarkar, the spokesperson of the Shinde-led rebel Sena MLAs, said that the Maharashtra chief minister will comment on holding the Dussehra rally or not at an “appropriate time”.

Earlier, former Maharashtra minister Aaditya Thackeray had said that authorities were not accepting Shiv Sena’s application to hold its Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park.

What is the latest update on the matter?

The Bombay High Court on Thursday permitted the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena to amend its petition to challenge BMC's decision refusing them permission to hold their annual Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park. A division bench of Justices R D Dhanuka and Kamal Khata said it would hear the petition on Friday.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) today morning passed an order rejecting their application seeking permission to hold the rally on October 5.

The court will also hear the application filed by MLA Sada Sarvankar, belonging to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's faction, opposing the Thackeray-led Sena's petition.

As an alternative, the two factions had also applied for permission to hold the rally at the MMRDA ground at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in Mumbai.

Last week, the Shinde faction got the nod for holding a rally at the BKC

(with agency inputs)

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