In a stunning statement, Shiv Sena-UBT President and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said the party name-symbol verdict of Election Commission was "unacceptable" and demanded that the poll panel must be "disbanded".
Thackeray's shocker came at a media conference when he termed the EC ruling of last Friday as "incorrect" and said his party has challenged it in the Supreme Court, while apprehending a "dictatorship" in the country after 2024.
"Such undemocratic decisions cannot be made on the basis of money power... It's an unconstitutional verdict. We demand that the ECI should be dissolved, an impartial EC should be elected like the judges, and till then its work should be handled by the Supreme Court," roared Thackeray.
He sought for the need to "elect" and not "appoint" election commissioners with a proper procedure, on the lines of the procedures of appointing judges in the Supreme Court.
Thackeray warned that if the scenario is not halted, then the 2024 elections may be the last in the country and after that anarchy will begin, and called upon all parties to remain vigilant.
He termed the latest political developments as the Bharatiya Janata Party's strategy to systematically destroy the Shiv Sena for which it had contracted (Chief Minister) Eknath Shinde.
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Last Friday, the EC had declared the faction led by CM Shinde as the "real" one and awarded it the original party's name Shiv Sena and election symbol of bow and arrow, sparking howls of protests from the Thackeray side.
Questioning the haste in the matter, Thackeray pointed out that his group had requested the EC to defer its ruling till the matter of suspended MLAs is pending in the SC.
If the EC wanted to select who would get the party name-symbol on the basis of their legislative strength, "then why did they ask for affidavits, certificates and other documents for which we spent lakhs of rupees", he said, adding that they should have taken into consideration the timeline of the chain of events in the matter.
"Everything has been stolen from us... The name and symbol of our party, even the (temporary) symbol of 'Flaming Torch' may be snatched, but they cannot steal the name Thackeray. We have challenged the EC ruling in the SC and the matter will come up tomorrow (Febeuary 21)," said Thackeray.
After the EC's order, a livid Sena-UBT chief spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut claimed on Sunday that an amount of over Rs 2,000 crore was spent to grab the party's name-symbol and has threatened to make more exposes on this in the coming days.
Thackeray held discussions with his top leaders and district party heads to decide the future course of action, the upcoming Budget Session of Maharashtra Legislature, the upcoming cases in the SC, etc., even as his party units protested in different parts of the state against the EC.
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