25 Jul 2022

'Contempt': Team Thackeray challenges election authority in Supreme Court

 Uddhava Thackeray's Shiv Sena faction has asked the Supreme Court to prevent the Election Commission from deciding who is in control of the party - whether Mr Thackeray or Chief Minister Eknath Shinde - until a decision is taken to disqualify the MLAs who rebelled against Mr Thackeray. former Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
After forming the government with the support of the BJP, Team Shinde claims it is the "real Shiv Sena".

The Election Commission has asked both the Sena factions to provide documentary evidence and written statements by August 8 to prove who represents the Maharashtra party. Only then will the election commission discuss the matter.

In a petition to the Supreme Court, Thackeray's team said the Election Commission cannot decide which group represents the Shiv Sena until it is clear what will be the disqualification of the rebel Sena MLAs - who jumped from Gujarat to Assam to Goa last month in a political operation - and dethroned Mr. Thackeray.

In a letter to the constitutional body responsible for allotting party symbols and conducting elections, Team Shinde claimed to have 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 Shiv Sena, one group is led by Eknath Shinde and the other group is led by Uddhav Thackeray, both groups claim to be the real Shiv Sena with their leader being the alleged Shiv Sena party president," she said on Saturday the election commission in a notice to both camps to ask for documentary evidence by August 8 for party control.

The Electoral Commission said it would take the next step for a "substantive hearing" only after obtaining documentary evidence and written statements.

The Shinde camp asked the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker to disqualify the Thackeray team. However, the Supreme Court on July 11 told Speaker Rahul Narwekar not to proceed with the plea seeking disqualification of Thackeray's team.

The Shinde camp said their Sena rivals must be disqualified for defying the party whip during the trust vote and the Speaker election last month.

Both camps have been asked to work a larger panel of the Supreme Court into Wednesday's matters, and the matter will be heard on August 1.

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