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The Hindu
The Hindu
Abhinay Deshpande

Eknath Shinde, Uddhav Thackeray factions of Shiv Sena prepared to fight byeelection with new symbols, names

Anticipating the freeze of the Shiv Sena party symbol of bow and arrow by the Election Commission of India, both factions of the Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde are ready with alternative names with which to contest the Andheri (East) byeelection.

While Uddhav Thackeray group is keen on getting the Mace ( gada), they have also selected Lion Face and Elephant Face as options; the Shinde camp has selected the Sword.

The ECI on Saturday gave interim orders that neither party will be able to use the ‘bow and arrow’ symbol until further notice and particularly for the purposes of the forthcoming byeelections. They would instead use new names, and new symbols will be allotted from a set of three options.

“We are not surprised by the poll panel’s decision. This was expected,” Uddhav loyalist and MLC Manisha Kayande told The Hindu.

Poll and politics

She said that the Shinde-Fadnavis group wants to finish the ‘real’ Shiv Sena led by Mr. Uddhav Thackeray and was using arm tactics. “But, one thing they must remember — for us, the symbol doesn’t matter. Our faces and developmental work in the area is enough to get a landslide victory in the election,” Ms. Kayande said, adding that their work speaks louder than the symbol.

Though the Shinde-led faction is likely to support the BJP candidate as part of their alliance, they submitted an application to the EC alleging that Uddhav Thackeray’s camp may misuse the party symbol in the election when the issue was still pending with the poll body.

The Uddhav Thackeray camp will field deceased Sena MLA Ramesh Latke’s wife Rutuja as it heavily depends on the sympathy factor. Latke died of a heart attack while on a trip to Dubai in May.

Shiv Sena’s Rajya Sabha MP Anil Desai alleged that the Shinde faction wanted the EC to freeze the party symbol so that BJP can have a cakewalk in the byeelection.

“Initially, we wanted Tiger as the poll symbol, but later we learned that it was not in the free list notified by the EC. So, we preferred Gada or Elephant. Soon, a representation will be submitted to the EC on the same,” a senior public representative of the Uddhav Thackeray camp said.

“The Gada or Elephant symbol will come in handy for us to tell voters that we have to teach a lesson to the Shinde faction leaders as Uddhav Ji had already declared them as traitors,” he said.

The Shinde camp leaders are hoping to get Sword as their symbol to claim that they are the real heirs of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Shiv Sena founder late Bal Thackeray.

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