New Delhi, February 20
Hours after the Supreme Court on Monday refused an urgent hearing to Uddhav Thackeray faction's plea against the allotment of party's original name and symbol to the Eknath Shinde led group, the former Maharashtra chief minister directed his ire at the Election Commission demanding the poll body’s dissolution.
"The Election Commission should be dissolved. It is a nominated body. Elections should be held for the membership of EC also," Thackeray said speaking to reporters at Shiv Sena Bhavan in Mumbai, minutes after Shinde and his camp MLAs met and hailed the EC's Friday decision.
They also took over the Sena office in state assembly and were expected to gain ownership of the premises at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation as well. Shinde loyalists however said they would not stake claim to Shiv Sena's shakhas and Sena Bhavan as of now.
Noting that the Supreme Court was his last ray of hope, Uddhav questioned the EC for "pronouncing a decision while his petition seeking disqualification of 16 Shinde camp MLAs was pending before the Supreme Court."
"We had urged the EC to reserve its decision till the SC ruled on the matter. The EC order is wrong. Never before in history has a contested party symbol been given to one faction in such a dispute. I received calls from Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Nitish Kumar and others. If this can happen to us, it can happen to others. No democracy will be left after 2024," Thackeray said, hoping to keep Shiv Sainiks enthused lest they tilt towards Shinde too.
Meanwhile, the mouthpiece of Uddhav-led Sena -- Saamna -- in an editorial today alleged that the "Election Commission had treated the whole issue like a property deal and handed over Shiv Sena, nurtured by Balasaheb Thackeray, “to those licking the boots of Delhi."
Saamna echoed views similar to Uddhav loyalist Sanjay Raut who yesterday alleged that Rs 2000 crore had been spent to enable the crossover of Sena MLAs to the Shinde faction, formation of the Shinde-BJP government in the state and to secure a favourable EC order.
The Marathi journal also attacked Union Home Minister Amit Shah saying, “It is not hidden that the bow and arrow symbol of Shiv Sena was given to Shinde as a favour from Amit Shah. This person is the number one enemy of Maharashtra and Marathis. Those who are aligning with Shah should be seen as enemies of Maharashtra."
The EC move to recognise Shinde’s group as the actual Shiv Sena has triggered a bitter legacy war in the state, where the BJP had in 2019 polls secured 105 seats, Shiv Sena 56, NCP 54 and Congress 44 out of 288 seats in the Maharashtra assembly. Uddhav as the leader of Shiv Sena, however, allied with the NCP and Congress to form the government of which he became the CM.
Amit Shah, speaking in Mumbai yesterday, slammed Uddhav for "surrendering at the feet of Sharad Pawar for mere CM-ship." Shah also urged BJP cadres to win all 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2024. In 2019, the BJP and its allies won 42 out of 48 LS seats in the state.
Maharashtra has the second highest LS seats in India (48) after UP (80).
#Eknath Shinde #Maharashtra #Supreme Court #Uddhav Thackeray
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