Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday exuded confidence in winning the upcoming Andheri East Assembly bypolls with the new ‘Two Swords & Shield symbol’ approved by the Election Commission, and said that Balasaheb Thackeray’s Shiv Sainiks are “happy”.
The remarks of the Chief Minister came after ECI on Tuesday alloted the ‘Two Swords and Shield symbol’ to the Eknath Shinde faction of Shiv Sena a day after the group was allotted ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’ (Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena) as the name for the group of the party.
“This ‘Two Swords & Shield symbol’ is an identity of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and people know about it. Balasaheb’s Shiv Sainiks are happy today. We will contest the election on this symbol and we will win,” Shinde said. The Shinde faction had submitted ‘shining sun’, ‘shield and sword’ and ‘Peepal tree’ as its election symbol options to the Election Commission (EC) for the upcoming bypoll in Andheri East assembly constituency next month.
However, the EC said that the symbols furnished by the Shinde faction are not from the list of free symbols as notified in the Commission.
Giving the reason for not allotting Sun/Surya/Sooraj as a symbol, the Election Commission said, “The Name of the symbol resembles with already reserved symbols ‘Sun (without rays)’ and ‘Rising Sun’ of recognized Political Parties namely ‘Zoram Nationalist Party’ (recognized party in the state of Mizoram) and ‘Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’ (recognized party in the state of Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Puducherry) respectively.”
“The Commission has decided to declare Do Talwarein aur Ek Dhal (Two Swords & Shield)’ to be a free symbol and allots it as the symbol to be allotted to the candidate set up, if any, by your group in the current bye-elections and till the final order is passed in the Dispute case number I of 2022,” the EC added in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Whereas the ‘flaming torch’ (mashaal) election symbol was allotted to the Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena, rejecting their claim to the ‘Trishul’ citing religious connotation. The Election Commission also allotted ‘ShivSena – Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray’ as the party name for the Thackeray faction.
Meanwhile, the ECI rejected ‘Trishul’ and ‘Gada’ (mace) as election symbols claimed by the two factions of the Shiv Sena, citing their religious connotation. Moreover, the election body noted that the ‘Rising Sun’ election symbol sought by both factions was reserved for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
The poll panel had earlier barred the rival groups led by former Maharastra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Chief Minster Eknath Shinde from using the symbol “Bow and Arrow”, reserved for Shiv Sena, in the upcoming Andheri East bye-election on November 3.