Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction has requested the Supreme Court to stop the Election Commission from deciding on who has control of the party – whether Mr Thackeray or Chief Minister Eknath Shinde – till a decision is taken on disqualifying MLAs who had revolted against Mr Thackeray, the former Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Team Shinde, after forming government with the BJP’s support, claims it is the “real Shiv Sena”.
The Election Commission has told both the Sena groups to give documentary evidence and written statements by August 8 to prove who represents the Maharashtra party. Only after that the Election Commission will hear the matter.
Team Thackeray in a petition told the Supreme Court that the Election Commission can’t decide which group represents the Shiv Sena till there is clarity on the disqualification of rebel Sena MLAs – who hopped from Gujarat to Assam to Goa in a political operation last month – and dethroned Mr Thackeray.
In a letter to the constitutional body responsible for allotting party symbols and holding elections, Team Shinde claimed it has the support of 40 out of 55 MLAs and 12 out of 18 Lok Sabha MPs.
“…It is evident that there is a split in the Shiv Sena, one group of which is being led by Eknath Shinde and the other group is being led by Uddhav Thackeray, both the groups claim to be the real Shiv Sena with their leader being the alleged president of Shiv Sena party,” the Election Commission said on Saturday in a notice to the two camps seeking documentary evidence for the party’s control by August 8.
The Election Commission said it will take the next step for a “substantive hearing” only after getting the documentary evidence and written statements.
The Shinde camp had asked the Maharashtra assembly Speaker to disqualify Team Thackeray. The Supreme Court on July 11, however, told Speaker Rahul Narwekar not to proceed with the plea seeking Team Thackeray’s disqualification.
The Shinde camp has said their Sena rivals need to be disqualified for defying the party whip during the trust vote and the election of the Speaker last month.
Both camps have been asked to frame by Wednesday issues for consideration by a larger bench of the Supreme Court, and the matter would be heard on August 1.