A day after the Election Commission (EC) recognised the Eknath Shinde-led faction as the real Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray, who heads the rival camp, on Saturday called a meeting of his party leaders and functionaries to discuss the future course of action.
The meeting of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leaders, deputy leaders, elected representatives and spokespersons will be held at Thackeray’s residence ‘Matoshree’ in suburban Bandra in the afternoon, Thackeray’s aide said. In a big blow to Thackeray, the EC on Friday allotted the name ‘Shiv Sena’ and its poll symbol ‘bow and arrow’ to the group led by CM Shinde.
This is for the first time that the Thackeray family has lost control of the party that was founded in 1966 by Balasaheb Thackeray on the principles of justice for the sons of the soil. In a unanimous order on the six-month-old petition filed by Shinde, the three-member Commission said it had relied on the numerical strength of the party in the legislative wing, where the chief minister enjoyed the support of 40 of the 55 MLAs and 13 of the 18 Lok Sabha members.
Shinde broke ranks with Thackeray in June last year and formed the government in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In its order, the Commission said 40 MLAs, supporting the Shinde faction, garnered 36,57,327 votes out of total 47,82,440 votes, which accounts for approximately 76 per cent of votes polled in favour of 55 winning MLAs. This was in contrast with 11,25,113 votes garnered by 15 MLAs whose support is claimed by the Thackeray faction.
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Thackeray had on Friday termed the EC’s decision as “dangerous for democracy”, and said he would challenge it in the Supreme Court, while CM Shinde had described the development as “victory of truth and people”.