Mumbai, Jul 23 (IANS): Shiv Sena MP and chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut criticised the Election Commission for raising questions on "the party that was founded by Balasaheb Thackeray".
He said that it is a sad development that the 56-year-old Shiv Sena launched by Balasaheb Thackeray - now led by his son and ex-Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray - on the Hindutva plank is now compelled to prove its credentials to the poll panel, and termed it shocking for the people of Maharashtra.
Raut's comments came against the backdrop of the EC asking the Shiv Sena and the rival faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to submit relevant documents to establish their claims over the party by August 8.
The poll panel has directed both claimants to furnish written statements, provide various documents including letters of support, the organisational wings and other details of the party, under the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968.
The ECI move followed a representation made by the Shinde group claiming it is the "real Shiv Sena", and demanding allotment of the party's iconic 'Bow and Arrow' poll symbol, on grounds that the breakaway faction was accorded recognition by the Lok Sabha and the Maharashtra Assembly.
In a pre-emptive move, the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena had earlier moved the EC, seeking a hearing before deciding on any claims made on the party, its logo and its poll symbol.
The Shinde faction step comes ahead of the upcoming 'mini-general elections' to over 350 local bodies after the Supreme Court last week ordered the polls to be notified within a fortnight on the basis of the OBC political reservations report of the state government.
The local bodies elections - including to the biggest and richest civic body, BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) as well as those of Thane, Pune, Nagpur and others would prove crucial for the two opposing factions as the outcome would indicate which group enjoys mass support.
After a major revolt, the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress Maha Vikas Aghadi government of Thackeray collapsed on June 29, and Shinde was sworn-in as CM along with Bharatiya Janata Party's Devendra Fadnavis as Deputy CM on June 30.