The Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday condemned the decision of the Election Commission of India to recognise the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde as the real Shiv Sena and said it was an extension of the Bharatiya Janata Party's "Operation Lotus".
"Operation Lotus" is a term used by opposition parties alleging foul play on the part of the BJP to topple governments in states by poaching legislators and bringing about splits in ruling parties.
The Election Commission (EC) on Friday allotted the name 'Shiv Sena' and its poll symbol 'bow and arrow' to the group led by CM Shinde, in the process delivering a big blow to Uddhav Thackeray, whose father Bal Thackeray founded the outfit in 1966.
Institutions like the EC are acting as though choreographed to singularly benefit the BJP, whose culture is one of naked power grab through any means, AAP Mumbai president Preeti Sharma Menon said in a statement here.
"The conduct of EC will even put the proverbial 'caged parrot' to shame. Under BJP rule, institution after institution has been destroyed and have been reduced to mere 'puppets' and 'rubberstamps'. The Election Commission is no exception. We have regressed as a democracy,'' she alleged.
"The EC order is an extension of Operation Lotus," she said, adding the Modi government at the Centre and the (state) governor were dubious in their conduct to give an illegal defection (rebellion by Shinde) the colour of a party takeover.
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These dangerous acts strike at the very foundations of federalism of our Constitution, she said, adding the BJP's undemocratic nature is reflective of the RSS' anti-constitutional psyche.
Meanwhile, the party's national joint secretary and working president Ruben Mascarenhas said the lotus blooms in dirt and Operation Lotus succeeded with the Congress and Shiv Sena "because there was dirt there".
He said it did not succeed with the AAP as it is clean and has a playbook to defeat the BJP.
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