Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has written to the Election Commission, asking it to urgently allot the Shiv Sena's bow and arrow symbol to his faction in view of the coming by-election in Andheri East. The BJP will contest the seat on behalf of the ruling alliance. But Mr Shinde has pointed out that the Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Sena might use the symbol in absence of any decision by the poll body.
In his petition, Mr Shinde said the symbol is necessary for the upcoming by-election and he has concern that the Thackeray faction "will illegally and unlawfully make an attempt to field a candidate and claim the allotted symbol of SSPP".
Under the circumstances, he asked that the Commission "urgently hear, dispose and allow the petition... and allot the symbol of Shiv Sena party of 'Bow and Arrow' to the group led by Petitioner, at the earliest".
Mr Shinde, who insists that his faction is the real Sena, has claimed the legacy of party founder Bal Thackeray along with the bow and arrow symbol.
The matter is now pending with the Election Commission, which said it would apply the transparent process of the "rule of majority".
The Supreme Court has refused to stop the poll body from deciding who is the "real" Shiv Sena which was sought by the Thackeray faction.
The party had split in June after Mr Shinde led a rebellion against Uddhav Thackeray, accusing him of betraying his father Bal Thackeray and diluting the Sena's ideology.
At the big Dussehra meeting held yesterday, Mr Shinde said: "Do you have any moral right to even stand and speak there? You used Shiv Sainiks for your personal reason and went ahead with Congress and NCP... Balasaheb Thackeray used to run the government on remote control and you gave this remote control to NCP".
Mr Thackeray, who held another rally at the traditional venue of Shivaji Park, alleged that Mr Shinde was a "traitor" who is attempting to control the party out of "greed".