On February 17, the Election Commission of India (ECI) allotted the name ‘Shiv Sena’ and the party’s Bow and Arrow symbol to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s faction, in effect recognising it as the original party founded by Balasaheb Thackeray. The political crisis in Maharashtra began last year after a group of 40 of the 55 Sena MLAs walked out of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance under the leadership of Mr. Shinde, which caused a division in the party. Both the Uddhav Thackeray and Shinde sides staked claim to the party name and symbol, each claiming to represent the ‘real’ Shiv Sena. The ECI said that it had based its decision on a “test of majority.” It said the group of MLAs supporting the Shinde faction got nearly 76% of the votes polled for the 55 winning Shiv Sena candidates in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections, while the Uddhav Thackeray faction got 23.5% of votes.
The crisis has thrown the spotlight once again on the anti-defection law, whose purpose is to prevent political defections. Here we discuss whether the law needs changes.
Guests: P.D.T. Achary, former Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha; Ruchi Gupta, Executive Director of the Future of India Foundation
Host: Sonam Saigal