Just days after former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray’s victory in the Dussehra rally case where the Bombay HC permitted him to conduct the rally at Shivaji Park, the faction again got into trouble. The Supreme Court today refused to stop the Election Commission from deciding who constitutes the real ‘Sena’.
The constitutional bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud while declining the petition said, “We direct that there would be no stay of the proceedings before the Election Commission.”
Thackeray faction earlier requested the SC to stop EC from taking the decision on the demands of Eknath Shinde-led groups that claimed the party symbol maintaining that they are the real ‘Shiv Sena’.
After the decisions of the SC, Aditya Thackeray, son of the former CM told the media that the battle is not yet over as it will be decided now by the EC. "The arguments in the case will have a far-reaching impact on the democratic principles in the country. We stand for truth and truth will prevail. The stage for arguments has shifted from the court to ECI. We are ready for the hearing. We have faith in the judiciary. We believe in the Constitution and will fight the battle for truth with all our might", says Junior Thackeray.
Back in June, Eknath Shinde replaced Uddhav as the Chief Minister following a coup within the party where 40 MLAs out of 55 supported the former and a BJP-Sena Government was formed with Devendra Fadnavis as Shinde’s deputy.
At this juncture, Thackeray appealed to the SC pointing out that as the decision regarding the disqualification of the MLAs are pending, EC deciding upon the real Sena will be in contravention to the established norms. If the Shinde-MLAs are disqualified the very question of assigning symbol and party name stands nullified.
However, the SC observed that the two cases are different and on August. 23, a bench of then the Chief Justice N V Ramana referred the case to a five-judge constitutional bench to discuss the embedded constitutional issues like disqualification, merger and defection. Thackeray faction in their petition mentioned that the Shinde-faction could easily avoid the disqualification if it merges with another party.
As per the tenth schedule inserted in the constitution in 1985, if the two-third of the any legislative party merges with another, they may avoid disqualification. Shinde group was nevertheless determined to gain the authentic tag of Sena.
Close Aides Deserting Thackeray
Prior to the order of the SC, Thackeray while addressing a party meeting at his parental residence ‘Matoshree’ said that he has full faith on the Judiciary. “I have full faith in the judiciary and we will win,” son of the Shiv Sena founder said.
He was addressing party cadres from Osmanabad whose name his Maha Vikas Aghadi government changed to Dharashiv in their final official decision before the June collapse.
However, like his faith on his colleagues, his trust on the SC also got hurt with the current decision of the SC giving an edge to the Shinde camp.
Interestingly, a few days back two of the closest aides of his father Champa Singh Thapa and Moreshwar Raje left the party to join Shinde faction. Thapa was with Bal Thackeray for almost 30 years before the satrap’s death. Thapa was so close to ‘Matoshree’ that Uddhav performed the last rites of the Sena founder with Thapa in his side.
The shift of Raje and Thapa further strengthened the claims of Shinde camp. Taking a dig at the Thackeray-scion, Shinde said, “On this auspicious occasion of Navaratri, everyone is happy that (pandemic-related) restrictions on festivals have been lifted. There is huge enthusiasm which is the need of the hour.”
Claiming the real Sena tag and flexing two collaborators of ‘original founder’, Shinde added, “Balasaheb used to do straight talking and used to be blunt. People knew Balasaheb well and hence they did not accept the Sena's alliance with Congress and NCP under the Maha Vikas Aghad.”
In this situation, the political observers note that it will be really difficult for Uddhav to get the debris back together. However there is a believe among the Thackeray faction that the Dussehra rally will bring some old loyalists back.
(With PTI Inputs)