The Election Commission of India (ECI) decision to award two swords and a shield symbol at Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena, led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, was touted by the party as a “repeat of historic events”, when the Sena used the symbol to challenge Thane Municipal Corporation polls and became the winning party with the greatest number of places.
Responding to the EC ruling, Shinde Group spokesman Naresh Mhaske said the Sena, after its formation in 1966, challenged the Thane Municipal Corporation’s polls on the “sword and shield” symbol. Since then, Thane has been considered a stronghold of the Shiv Sena. Incidentally, Thane is also considered the stronghold of CM Shinde, who is contesting the city’s elections. “The way we won the poll, we will register victories now,” Mhaske said.
Besides the political value of the symbol, the Shinde faction has also attempted to link the party to the legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who used sword and shield to attack and defend Maharashtra from attackers. “Our election symbol is inspired by the legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. He fought alone against the Hindutva assailants and shaped Maharashtra. Likewise, we will reshape the state by following the Hindutva ideals that set us were taught by Balasaheb Thackeray,” Mhaske said.
“We have the blessings of Shivaji Maharaj and Balasaheb Thackeray in the form of this symbol,” he added.
The party also used the symbol in the 1968 Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls. Camp Shinde hopes to link Tuesday’s EC decision to the party’s past glory in an attempt to tie it to the legacy of the late Sena founder Bal Thackeray.