Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde stakes claim over Shiv Sena, sends letter to EC

The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Eknath Shinde, late Tuesday night approached the Election Commission of India (ECI), demanding a claim by Shiv Sena. Sources in the Election Commission said the letter is “under processing to obtain the necessary details.”

The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allocation) Ordinance 1968 deals with the power of the polling body to identify parties and allocate symbols. When the question of division in a political party is raised outside the Legislative Assembly, Paragraph 15 of the Symbols Ordinance 1968 states: “When the Commission is satisfied … that there are competing divisions or groups of a recognized political party, each claiming to be that party, The Commission, after taking into account all the facts and circumstances available to the case and having heard the representatives of (their) … and other persons who wish to be heard, may decide that one or none of these competing divisions or groups is that the recognized political party and the decision of the Commission shall be binding on all such competing divisions or groups.”

When a dispute arises, the European Commission first examines the support each faction has, both within the party organization and its legislative wing. Then it defines the higher committees and decision-making bodies within the political party and proceeds to find out how many of its members or officials support any faction. It also counts the number of legislators and legislators in each camp.

This applies to disputes in national parties and recognized states. For divisions in registered but unrecognized parties, the European Commission usually advises warring factions to resolve their differences internally or to approach the court.

The Shiv Sena faction led by Shinde was shot in the arm on Tuesday when the House of Representatives Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Om Birla, admitted that Rahul Shewel is the party floor leader in the House. A circular was issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat to update the party’s positions in the House of Representatives, “as a result of the change in the Shiv Sena party leader in the Lok Sabha”. She stated that Shewel would be the leader of the 19-member party.

In the past, one of the most prominent party splits prior to 1968 was the Communist Party of India in 1964. A splinter group approached the European Electricity Union in December 1964, urging it to recognize it as a CPI (Marxist). She provided a list of MPs and MLAs in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal who supported it. The Independent Electoral Commission recognized the faction as a CPI after finding that votes for MPs and MLAs in support of the splinter group amounted to more than 4% in the three states.

Recently, the Samajwadi Party saw a bitter split in 2017 when Akhilesh Yadav wrested control from his father Mulayam Singh Yadav. Moulay approached the European Commission and said that he is still the party’s president and that the symbol of the elections should stay with his party. This was contested by the Achilles camp, which submitted written affidavits by several party officials, MPs, MLAs and county chiefs to claim that the majority was with the then CM. In the end, after hearing both sides, the reconnaissance body decided to award the course code to the faction headed by Akhilesh Yadav.

In the case of AIADMK in 2017, factions led by O Panneerselvam and VK Sasikala claimed AIADMK’s ‘Two Cards’ token, after which the European Commission froze it in March 2017. While then Prime Minister Edappadi Palaniswami’s camp revolted against Sasikala to merge with the OPS faction In November 2017, it was the consolidated OPS-EPS group that won the token.

Last year, the European Commission also banned the factions led by Chirag Paswan and Pashupati Kumar Paras from using the Lok Janshakti party name or symbol “One Floor” until the dispute between the two rival groups is settled by the polling commission.

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