The Election Commission on Tuesday allotted ‘two swords and a shield’ as the poll symbol to the Shiv Sena faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
The Shinde faction, which is now named as ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’, will be able to use the symbol for the Andheri East assembly bypoll, should it decide to contest the election scheduled for November 3.
Shinde welcomed the allocation of the poll symbol and asserted that his group was the true torchbearer for the staunch Hindutva ideology laid down by Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray.
“We will be the shield that protects the innocent and the sword that destroys the rogues,” he said on Twitter.
In a letter to Shinde, the Commission said it has decided to declare ‘Do Talwarein aur Ek Dhal (Two Swords & Shield)’ to be a free symbol and allot it to the candidate set up, if any, by the Shinde-led group in the current bye-election.
The Shinde faction had suggested ‘peepal tree’, shield and sword’ (dhal-talwar), and ‘sun’ as its choice of poll symbols.
The Commission turned down all the three suggestions made by the Shinde-group contending that they were not in the list of free symbols.
However, it allotted the poll symbol two swords and a shield’ to the Shinde-led group noting that it resembled the dhal-talwar’ (shield and sword) sought by the outfit.
The ‘two swords and shield’ symbol was earlier allotted to the People’s Democratic Movement, which was de-recognised as a state party in 2004 and subsequently de-listed in 2016, the Commission said.
Turning down the claim to the ‘sun’ symbol, the poll authority said the Shinde faction’s choice resembled the poll symbols sun (without rays)’ and rising sun’ of the Zoram National Party and DMK respectively. It also said that the Shinde faction’s choice also seemed to resemble free symbols of apple’, cauliflower’ and football’.
On Saturday last, the Commission had barred the factions led by Uddhav Thackeray and Shinde from using the party name Shiv Sena’ and its ‘bow and arrow’ symbol for the November 3 Andheri East assembly bypoll.
The interim order said the party name and symbol stand frozen till the dispute between the two factions on which is the real Shiv Sena is adjudicated by the EC.
On Monday, the Commission had allotted ‘flaming torch’ (mashaal) election symbol to the Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena and recognised it as ‘Shiv Sena – Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray’.
It recognised the Shinde faction as ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’ (Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena).
Shinde had rebelled against Thackeray’s leadership, claiming the support of 40 of the Shiv Sena’s 55 MLAs and 12 of its 18 members in the Lok Sabha.
Following Thackeray’s resignation as chief minister of the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress coalition government, Shinde became chief minister with the support of the BJP.
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