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In ‘who is the real Shiv Sena’ battle, Supreme Court orders EC to hold tight

The apex court orally said it would refer the matter to a Constitution bench by 8 August.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Election Commission not to take any “precipitative action” on Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s claim that he was the “real” Shiv Sena.

Shinde, who staged a coup to unseat former chief minister and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, also approached the court to claim the party symbol – the bow and the arrow.

The court is also hearing other matters such as Thackeray’s disqualification of rebel MLAs, the election of a new Speaker and party whip as well as the Assembly floor test on 4 July where Shinde proved his majority.

Thackeray, however, is still the president of the Shiv Sena.

A three-judge bench of the apex court – comprising Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Hima Kohli — orally said it would refer the issues arising from the rift in the party to a Constitution Bench, and would take a call by Monday.

 The Eknath Shinde faction on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that rebel MLAs had never left the Shiv Sena, while emphasising there was no split in the party.

The faction said it was “not anti-party, but intra-party” dispute after the Uddhav Thackeray-led camp claimed these MLAs stood disqualified for anti-party activities.

The Shinde group had approached the Election Commission saying it was the “real” Shiv Sena. The move was challenged by Uddhav Thackeray’s camp in the apex court and they sought a stay on the proceedings before the poll panel.

On 21 June, a group of Sena MLAs — led by Shinde — rebelled against Uddhav Thackeray, causing the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government. A tripartite coalition, the MVA comprised the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Congress.

The Shinde camp, with the support of 40 of Sena’s 55 MLAs, then joined hands with the BJP, with Eknath Shinde becoming the chief minister with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy.

Also read: Thackerays’ voice, Saamana’s wit, staunch BJP critic — how Sanjay Raut rose to Sena top rung


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