Why Shiv Sena’s Uddhav faction gets the ‘flaming torch’ poll symbol

The Eknath Shinde camp has been requested by the EC to provide a new list of potential symbols before tomorrow in Shiv Sena.

The Election Commission gave the two competing Shiv Sena factions new names on Monday: “Shiv Sena – Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray” for the Eknath Shinde faction and “Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena” (Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena).

The Uddhav group has been given a symbol, a “flaming torch,” while the Shinde camp has been requested to present a new list of potential insignia by tomorrow (mashaal).

The trident (trishul) and the mace (gada), which the factions had requested, were denied due to their associations with religion. The “rising sun,” which the EC noted was the DMK’s electoral symbol, had also been desired by both sides.

Prior to the November 3 by-election for the Andheri East Assembly seat, the Election Commission had frozen the Sena’s bow and arrow symbol on October 8 for use by the two feuding Sena factions.

The Thackeray-led faction went to the Delhi High Court on Monday to ask for the judgement to be quashed.

How come “flaming torch”

The Commission highlighted that the Samata Party, which was derecognized in 2004, had previously been assigned the “flaming torch” insignia. Following a request by the Thackeray faction, the Commission claimed it had decided to list the “flaming torch” as a “free symbol,” according to PTI.

When the Sena lacked a specific election symbol in 1985, the party had already won an election using the burning torch image.

The burning torch symbol helped Chhagan Bhujbal, the sole Sena legislator in the seventh Maharashtra Assembly, win the Mazgaon district. In the absence of a specific emblem for the party, Bhujbal and other Sena candidates—including former Chief Minister Manohar Joshi—had chosen several logos to run for office. Bat and ball were the other symbols, along with the rising sun.

According to Bhujbal, who spoke to The Indian Express, “I had picked the flaming torch since it was a symbol of revolution and showed a new way to the people of Maharashtra.” Bhujbal recalled the 1985 election and said that the torch was simple to depict and that the election campaign at the time was heavily influenced by wall art.

“Even I would paint the walls back then since we lacked the funds to compete in elections. It was simplest to draw a torch that was on fire. That was a drawing I made for my campaign, and it caught the voters’ attention. It helped me achieve a notable victory. I was the only Sena MLA present at the time, he recalled.

Bhujbal, who is currently a key leader in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), claimed that the Sena’s campaign for victories all over the world began following his triumph in the Assembly. I have no doubt that this will happen again for Uddhav Thackeray, and the fiery torch emblem will elevate the Shiv Sena to unprecedented political heights in Maharashtra, he declared.

The Sena was officially recognised as a state party and given the bow and arrow as its official electoral symbol in 1989.

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