Election Commission of India to recognize the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena faction as the real Shiv Sena and allow them to retain the party’s traditional symbol, the “bow and arrow,” is a significant victory for the faction.
In its 78-page order, the commission made several observations and conducted tests, including the “Test of Party Constitution” and the “Test of Majority.” The commission found that the 2018 amendment to the Shiv Sena constitution was undemocratic, as it conferred widespread powers of making organizational appointments to a single person.
The commission noted that the lack of democratic internal structures within political parties can create internal disputes, leading to factions and conflicts. This can result in the determination of the question by the Election Commission under the Symbols Order. In such cases, the party constitution is often seen to have been mutilated, undemocratically appointing people from a coterie as office bearers without any election at all.
The importance of democratic principles in the constitution of political parties cannot be overstated. Without a robust constitution that provides for democratic structures within the party and protects the constitution when it is amended to allow undemocratic methods of appointments, party structures are bound to fail and lead to conflicts.
The Election Commission’s decision highlights the need for political parties to prioritize democratic principles and structures to avoid such conflicts. This decision should serve as a reminder to all political parties that the best way to ensure success and unity is through democratic practices and transparency.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray launched a strong attack on his opponent Eknath Shinde, labelling him as an unchanging “traitor” after the Election Commission’s recent decision to grant Shinde’s faction the right to use the Shiv Sena name and its iconic bow and arrow symbol. Thackeray vowed to continue the fight against what he sees as Shinde’s theft of the party symbol, asserting that a traitor is always a traitor.