In Shiv Sena vs Shiv Sena, party is over for Uddhav Thackeray - The Daily Guardian
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In Shiv Sena vs Shiv Sena, party is over for Uddhav Thackeray

With majority of party legislators, parliamentarians and city councillors on its side, the Shinde faction is set to wrest control of the party.

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The Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray on Monday moved the Supreme Court to challenge the proceedings started by the Election Commission over the claims made by the faction headed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde for party’s bow and arrow election symbol. In its letter to the EC, the Shinde faction has claimed to be the “real Shiv Sena” and has sought the right to use the bow and arrow symbol of the party.

The Shiv Sena vs. Shiv Sena has now turned legal and it is for the apex court to decide the future of the party.

Almost a month has passed since the power struggle within Shiv Sena hogged the media limelight between claims and counterclaims culminating into the collapse of Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Agadi government of Shiv Sena–NCP–Congress combine on the midnight of 30 June. It had all the elements of high drama that such political coups have of late come to be associated with in the country. But nobody did expect that it would end in a last minute surprise when a pensive Devendra Fadnavis announced that rebel Shinde would be sworn in as the new chief minister of Maharashtra.

Much water has flown down the Mithi river since then and events that have followed indicate that Thackeray is fast losing hold over the Shiv Sena that his father Balasaheb had founded five-and-a-half decades back. His bête noire Shinde, on the other hand, is gaining ground, garnering support from both Shiv Sena leaders and workers across the state.

Initially, though, it looked as if both factions would find a common ground to join hands. The way the Shinde faction is pursuing its agenda aggressively makes it clear that the rebel is not there just to gain political power by affecting a vertical split party. But he has a bigger goal in mind: to wrest control of the party in its entirety.

The Shinde faction is taking one measure after another to ensure it does not lose its battle for gaining complete control over Shiv Sena. First, after bringing a sizable number of MLAs to his side, Shinde has gained support not only from city councillors or nagar sevaks and party workers but also members of Parliament. Apart from 41 MLAs who helped Shinde raise a banner of revolt against Thackeray, the faction has gained support of about 12 MPs. Not only that, Shinde has Shiv Sena leaders from many parts of Maharashtra including Thane, Navi Mumbai, Palghar, and Ahmednagar, thus gaining strength across the state. If the majority of Shiv Sena office bearers and leaders support Shinde, the party constitution may not come to Thackeray’s rescue, though it empowers him to cast any leader out of the party. The Election Commission may also favour the Shinde faction.

The balance is tilted against Thackeray. According to former principal secretary of Maharashtra state Assembly Anant Kalse, if two-thirds of the party members side with Shinde, the Election Commission may recognise the faction and hand it over the Shiv Sena party symbol bow and arrow. In the event the Election Commission recognises his faction, Shinde will have all those powers that Thackeray at present has party chief and he can show Thackeray and his faction the door. This seems to be a possibility now.

Uday Samant, another leader of the Shinde faction, while speaking to The Daily Guardian said, “Shinde has already formed a new executive body of the party and has chosen leaders for the same. Shinde is proactively taking decisions and lot is going to happen in days to come.” To beat Thackeray in the game, Shinde is holding programmes using both party name and symbol to make an impression on the workers that the programmes are not been organised by the rebels.

The fight for control over the party and its emblem and symbol has now entered into the legal realm. The Thackeray faction, though its leaders are tight-lipped about the future of the party, is banking upon the Supreme Court, which may upheld the disqualification of 16 rebel MLAs. But the ball will be in the Election Commission, which is very much likely to recognise the Shinde faction given the majority support it has both from the workers and leaders at various levels, including councillors, MLAs and MPs.

The party is over for Thackerays for now.

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Earlier, New York State Police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar. Matar hail from Fairview, New Jersey, and is 24 years old.

“The suspect has been identified as Hadi Matar, 24, from Fairview, New Jersey. Earlier today, approx at 10:47 am, the speaker Rushdie, 75, and Henry Reese, 73 has just arrived at the stage of the institution and shortly thereafter the suspect jumped out of the stage and attacked at least once in the neck and at least once in the abdomen,” Major Eugene J. Staniszewski said.

Known for his free speech, Salman Rushdie received death threats for his book ‘The Satanic Verses. The book was released in 1988 and after 30 years of a fatwa, Rushdie was attacked. Rushdie was stabbed in the neck when he was on stage at the Chautauqua Institution. Rushdie is of Indian origin and is currently a citizen of Britain.

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