MUMBAI – The Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) on Friday tore into the Election Commission (EC) decision awarding the original ‘Shiv Sena’ name and ‘Bow-and-Arrow’ symbol to the breakaway group headed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Shiv Sena (UBT) president Uddhav Thackeray said in Mumbai that “this was unexpected and is an injustice” by the EC, and it should have waited till the pendency of the court case in the Supreme Court.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take courage and announce from the Red Fort that after 75 years, freedom has ended, and democracy has been replaced by dictatorship,” said Thackeray.
Calling Shinde a ‘thief’, Thackeray said first he stole the Shiv Sena’s (elected representatives), then its name and symbol, adding it’s an extremely dangerous development for democracy.
“A thief is a thief… these thieves can never become macho with such thefts and they will never be able to digest it. Let them celebrate for sometime,” said Thackeray.
Maharashtra unit Congress president Nana Patole said the claims by the Shinde group that they would get the party name-symbol have proved true, raising questions about whether autonomous institutions like the EC will run by the law or by the powers that rule.
“Under whose pressure did the EC decide when the party split case is still pending in the SC? The EC’s functioning doesn’t appear to be independent and it has been biased throughout. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which walked holding Balasaheb Thackeray’s finger, has now finished his party. The people are observing all this,” said Patole.
Nationalist Congress Party’s Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar said the decision was unfortunate and the Sena (UBT) is planning to challenge it in the courts, but said the people will always remain with the Thackerays.
Thackeray further alleged that the BJP wanted to win the upcoming BMC elections at any cost, but had no guts to announce the polls.
However, now that the name-symbol has been given to Shinde, they will soon go for elections, but the people will teach them a lesson.
Sena (UBT)’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut said that the decision is ‘purchased’, just as crores of rupees were spent to form the government in Maharashtra, and the country is moving towards ‘dictatorship’.
“It’s the end of democracy… the EC has made a mockery of truth and justice. The 40 thieves laid claim over Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sena and symbol and the EC approved it. The script was already written and ready. The traitor kept saying that the EC decision would be in his favour. A miracle has happened!” Raut said.
Sena (UBT) spokespersons Kishore Tiwari and Sushma Andhare, Congress chief spokesperson Atul Londhe and general secretary Sachin Sawant, plus NCP’s spokespersons Clyde Crasto and Mahesh Tapase also slammed the EC verdict in strong words.
Pepping up his supporters and workers, Thackeray said that the Shiv Sena cannot be erased by this and “just as Lord Ram had won in Ramayana, we shall also win. We will challenge the EC in the SC and go to the peoples’ court”.
Raising questions on the EC, Thackeray said that in the past few weeks, many people, including BJP’s central Ministers like Narayan Rane and Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis had been claiming that Shinde would get the name-symbol, and demanded: “How could they make such predictions in advance!”
Targetting the BJP, he said that it had realised that now even Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name does not work in Maharashtra, so they will wear face-masks of Balasaheb Thackeray’s photos to fight the elections.
“The EC is a slave of the government. What it has done is scary and the whole world is observing it. Now the SC is the sole hope of whether democracy will survive in India or not,” declared Thackeray.
Andhare accused the government of deploying central probe agencies and misusing public offices, which led to the collapse of the erstwhile MVA government in June 2022.
Tiwari warned that the people of Maharashtra will not forgive or spare the traitors who will bite the dust in the elections, and “ultimately, Uddhav Thackeray will be the real winner”.
Crasto said that if such decisions are given it will prove dangerous for the election process in India in future, and warned that what has happened to Shiv Sena today could happen to any political party, including the BJP.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org)