Eknath Shinde Faction To Meet Election Commission Today Over Shiv Sena Poll Symbol

Before the Maharashtra assembly byelection in Andheri East, the Eknath Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena is scheduled to meet with the Election Commission today to lay claim for the party’s “bow and arrow” election emblem, news agency PTI reported.

The Shiv Sena’s Shinde faction is believed to be trying to prevent the Uddhav Thackeray faction from running Rutuja Latke, the widow of MLA Ramesh Latke, in the November 3 by-election by using the “bow and arrow” emblem.

Speaking with PTI, Rahul Shewale, leader of the Shinde faction of Shiv Sena in the Lok Sabha, stated: “We are meeting the Election Commission on Friday in connection with the party election symbol.”

For the byelection occasioned by Ramesh Latke’s passing, BJP, an ally of the Shinde group, has chosen to field Murji Patel, a corporator in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

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The Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena, which is the Shiv Sena’s coalition partner in Maharashtra, has opted to endorse the candidate of Congress and the NCP, Vikas Aghadi (MVA).

Thackeray had been criticised by Shinde for forming a “unnatural coalition” with the Congress and NCP. Thackeray’s resignation as Maharashtra Chief Minister came about as a result of more than 40 of the Shiv Sena’s 55 MLAs backing Shinde.

Shinde, who subsequently claimed to be the founder of the original Shiv Sena, received backing from 12 of the Shiv Sena’s 18 Lok Sabha representatives.

Political observers view the Andheri East byelection, the first since Shinde and the BJP toppled the MVA government in June, as a necessary step in resolving the dispute over who is the “true Shiv Sena,” according to Shinde and Thackeray.

(With Inputs From PTI)