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EC’s Shiv Sena order doesn’t mean Thackeray faction weak or demoralised: NCP

MUMBAI: The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Sunday said the Election Commission’s order on the use of the Shiv Sena party name and election symbol in an upcoming Assembly bypoll was surprising, but it did not mean the Uddhav Thackeray-led group was weak or demoralised.

The Election Commission on Saturday barred the Shiv Sena factions led by former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray and current Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde from using the party name and its election symbol in the Andheri East Assembly bypoll.

In an interim order over the claims by the rival factions for control of the organisation, the commission asked them to suggest by Monday three different name choices and also as many free symbols for allocation to their respective groups.

The bypoll to Andheri East Assembly seat in suburban Mumbai, scheduled on November 3, has been necessitated due to the death of incumbent Sena MLA Ramesh Latke.

The Congress and the NCP have decided to support Ramesh Latke’s wife Rujuta Latke, the candidate of the Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena, their coalition partner in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA).

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), an ally of the Shinde faction, has decided to field Murji Patel, a corporator in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.

Speaking to reporters here, NCP’s chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said the Election Commission of India’s decision to freeze the Shiv Sena symbol and party name is surprising and painful. But, it is not the final decision of the Commission.

“The Eknath Shinde-led (Sena) camp is not even contesting the by-election, still the use of the party name and symbol was restricted. The freezing of the symbol does not mean the (Thackeray-led) Sena workers have become weak or are demoralised. The Shiv Sena (Thackeray faction) along with the NCP and Congress will give a tough fight to the BJP,” he said.

“This election will be a one-on-one contest as the BJP has fielded its candidate against the Uddhav Thackeray camp’s nominee,” he said.

The Thackeray-led Shiv Sena had on Saturday termed the EC’s order as “injustice”, while the group headed by CM Shinde said the order was appropriate.

The EC’s interim order came on the Shinde faction’s request seeking it be allocated the symbol as the Andheri East assembly bypoll is approaching.

Source: Press Trust of India

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