The Uddhav Thackeray faction of the Shiv Sena has moved the Supreme Court against the proceedings of the Election Commission on the plea of the Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde-led group for recognition as the real Shiv Sena.
The development assumes significance as the poll panel recently asked the rival factions of the Shiv Sena led by Thackeray and Shinde to submit documents by August 8 in support of their claims on the election symbol -- bow and arrow -- of the political outfit.
The poll panel sources had said the two sides have been asked to submit documents, including letters of support from the legislative and organisational wings of the party, and the written statements of rival factions.
The fresh plea has been filed in a pending petition by Subhash Desai, the general secretary of the Shiv Sena and seeks the nod of the top court to make the poll panel also a party.
The Thackeray faction has also written to the poll panel requesting it not to go ahead with the plea of the Shinde faction in view of the pendency of a batch of petitions in the top court.
The plea terms the plea of the rival Shinde group to get the poll symbol and the tag of the real Shiv Sena as an act of “desperation”.
The Thackeray group filed a representation before the EC last week after the Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena had written to the Commission seeking allocation of the party's 'bow and arrow' election symbol to it, citing the recognition granted to them in the Lok Sabha and the Maharashtra Assembly.
The top court on July 20 had said the petitions filed by the Shiv Sena and its rebel MLAs during the recent Maharashtra political crisis raised constitutional issues including split, the merger of a political party, defection, and disqualification, which may require consideration by a larger bench.
The bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, meanwhile, had extended the operation of its July 11 order by which it had asked the Assembly Speaker not to proceed with a plea seeking disqualification of MLAs of the Thackeray faction as sought by the Shinde group on grounds of defying the party whip during the trust vote and the election of the speaker.
The bench is seized of as many as six pending pleas about the recent political crisis in Maharashtra that led to the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state.
The first one was filed by the Shinde faction during the summer vacation, when some rebel Sena MLAs moved before it, challenging the disqualification proceedings initiated by the deputy speaker.
The remaining five pleas have been filed by the Thackeray faction. The Shiv Sena split last month when more than two-thirds of the party's MLAs withdrew their support from the Maharashtra government led by Uddhav Thackeray, throwing their lot with Shinde.
Shinde was sworn in as the Maharashtra Chief Minister on June 30 with the support of the BJP.