On February 17, Friday, the Election Commission of India recognized the Eknath Shinde faction as the real Shiv Sena as the party retains the 'bow and arrow' symbol.
At the cost of Uddhav Thackrey losing the party name and symbol, the Maharashtra CM faction won the long-drawn battle that rose after Shinde rebelled and walked away with over 75per cent of the party's winning votes with BJP's aide last year.
Nearly eight months after Shinde's coup in June 2022, a 78-page order on the protracted battle for control of the organisation, the ECI has cleared Shinde's claim on the party name and symbol and allowed the former CM, Uddhav Thackeray's faction keep the 'flaming torch' poll symbol allotted by the commission last year.
Shinde was quoted as saying by media reports, "I thank the Election Commission. The majority counts in democracy. This is the victory of (Shiv Sena founder) Balasaheb (Thackeray's) legacy. Ours is the true Shiv Sena."
Thackrey faction's Sena MP, Sanjay Raut said, "Such a decision was expected. We don't have faith in the Election Commission." An NDTV report also quoted sources that the former Chief Minister's camp plans on challenging the decision in the Supreme Court.
The crisis for Thackery-led government began in June last year when about 50 MLAs from the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance of the Sena, Congress and, the Nationalist Congress Party departed the coalition government. Following this, Shinde took off with nearly 40 Sena MLAs along with 10 others to BJP's hub, Gujarat via road. The rebelling MLAs from here flew to BJP-ruled Assam on a chartered flight.
The Thackeray faction was left with a mere 15-odd MLAs support, leading to his resignation from the CM post. Later in June 2022, with BJP's support, Shnde returned with the couping MLAs to Mumbai from Assam with a brief break in-between in Goa. With the Maha Vikas Aghadi government falling from power, Shinde became the state CM amid hopes of BJP leader and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis returning to the topmost power.