Home Politics ‘Shiv Sena’s Bow & Arrow Symbol Could Be Frozen Forever’: Lawyer Ujjwal Nikam on Shinde vs Thackeray

‘Shiv Sena’s Bow & Arrow Symbol Could Be Frozen Forever’: Lawyer Ujjwal Nikam on Shinde vs Thackeray

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‘Shiv Sena’s Bow & Arrow Symbol Could Be Frozen Forever’: Lawyer Ujjwal Nikam on Shinde vs Thackeray

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In June 2022, Eknath Shinde, together with 39 different MLAs, led a rebel, vertically splitting the Shiv Sena. The then-Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) authorities fell. Camped in Guwahati for days, the Shinde faction — now known as Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (BSS) — claimed it was the ‘real’ Shiv Sena on account of its numerical power. The Thackeray camp — Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) — denied it, accusing the rebels of disobeying the occasion’s whip.

Seven months on, the 2 sides are locked in a fancy authorized tussle — disqualification pleas, declare over occasion identify and image — within the Supreme Court and the Election Commission (EC). The former will resume listening to the pleas from February 14. The latter will hear the plea on January 30.

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News18 spoke to lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, particular public prosecutor and outstanding authorized skilled, on the problem at hand and the precedents in such issues.

Edited excerpts:

Political defections aren’t new in Indian politics. Leaders have jumped ship up to now, shaped splinter teams, and even fought over symbols. How totally different [or similar] is Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s case?

An analogous scenario had occurred in Tamil Nadu [in 1987-88] after the demise of MGR (M G Ramachandran), founding father of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). There, Jayalalithaa and Janaki (MGR’s spouse) had a quarrel on who will preside over the occasion. Jayalalithaa had a majority of elected candidates, whereas Janaki was in charge of the occasion base.

But earlier than the EC may take any name on the matter, each [Jayalalithaa and Janaki] arrived at a compromise. So, a choice wasn’t taken.

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An analogous scenario is going on in Maharashtra. Uddhav Thackeray’s group is claiming they’re heading the occasion and that the election image [bow and arrow] should go to them. Whereas Shinde’s group can be claiming they’re the unique Shiv Sena, saying the Thackerays are in a minority as a result of the bulk [of] elected legislators [39 of the 55 Sena MLAs and 12 of the 19 Sena MPs] aren’t with him.

The anti-defection legislation was aimed toward stopping politicians from switching events. [It did give exceptions like if two-thirds of the members agree to a merger with another party, they will not be disqualified]. But with a majority of the legislators by his aspect, doesn’t that, on paper, make Shinde’s case robust?

It’s not a query of a stronger or weak case. No doubt, Shinde has a majority of the elected individuals. But on the similar time, the Thackeray group additionally has a majority of the group.

The Tenth Schedule [anti-defection law] was to stop horse-trading after the elections. From time to time, amendments have been made by Parliament to have a real democracy.

But, such a scenario [like Shinde’s] that has occurred in Maharashtra, wasn’t considered by anybody [then].

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There are two clear circumstances that entice the Tenth Schedule — voluntarily giving up membership of a political occasion. [In that case], he ceases to be a member of that occasion.

Second, if he disobeys the whip of the occasion, then he could be disqualified.

Now, the disputable query is of voluntarily giving up the membership — Thackerays are alleging that Shinde and his supporters left Mumbai and didn’t obey the whip, and due to this fact they’ve voluntarily given up the membership of the occasion [which Shinde’s faction opposes].

But the fundamental subject at current is over the election image

Let’s come to the Election Commission, the place the 2 are staking declare over the identify and image. By the variety of complete affidavits [filed before the EC], Thackeray claims the group is with him. Shinde says a majority of lawmakers are with him. What’s often given extra weightage in such conditions?

Conventionally, the EC has given precedence to the elected members of a political occasion [to decide the dispute].

Some years in the past [2016-17], Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, registered with the EC with bicycle as its image, had seen a cut up too.

“The Constitution of the political party is equally important. That’s the Bible of any political party…so the EC has to minutely go through it, verify the facts and figures from both sides and then decide.”

When Akhilesh Yadav [Mulayam’s son] was the Chief Minister of UP, the two had a difference of opinion. Mulayam Singh Yadav then went to the EC, saying the party’s cycle symbol shouldn’t be given to Akhilesh as he was “the founder of the political party”.

The EC took a view then that the elected legislators and the organization both were with Akhilesh and didn’t give any relief to Mulayam Singh Yadav.

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…but according to me, the Constitution of the political party is equally important. That’s the Bible of any political party…so the EC has to minutely go through it, verify the facts and figures from both sides and then decide.

Besides the party ownership, the EC will also take a call on the symbol. It had previously frozen the name ‘Shiv Sena’ and its bow and arrow symbol temporarily in the lead-up to the Andheri East bypoll [last year]. Is there a chance the symbol could be frozen forever, irrespective of which way the verdict goes?

I cannot rule out that possibility. You see, in the past also, when there was a division in the Congress [in 1969 under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi] between the Congress (Organisation) and Congress (Indira), their earlier symbol was a pair of bullocks. That symbol [post the 1969 split] was frozen [by the Election Commission] and both the sides were given different symbols.

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[Here too,] if the EC finds it troublesome to determine from the claims and counterclaims from each the [Shiv Sena] teams, it’s fairly seemingly that they might freeze the image perpetually. They [EC] might give each of them new symbols and ask them to register as new political events.

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