From ‘bow and arrow’ to ‘mashal’, a look at Shiv Sena’s changing poll symbols

Bombay: If the symbol of the ‘flaming torch’ (mashal) opens a new leaf for the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of Shiv Sena, it is not something new for the party, as it had successfully contested an election in 1985. Senior politician Chhagan Bhujbal, then in the Shiv Sena, had won the elections of Mumbai’s Mazgaon constituency on the ‘flaming torch’ symbol while the organization had no fixed poll symbol. Bhujbal later rebelled and left the party to join the Congress and is now a prominent leader of the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

The symbol of the ‘flaming torch’ has historically been used by the Sena during citizen and Assembly polls.

The Shiv Sena was founded in 1966 by Bal Thackeray and it took 23 years for the party to receive the special ‘bow and arrow’ symbol.

The Sena was recognized as a state party in 1989, meaning it was allowed to use a uniform symbol in the state.

But earlier, from 1966 to 1989, it contested on various symbols in the Lok Sabha, Assembly and citizen polls.

After nearly 33 years, the Election Commission last week froze its ‘bow and arrow’ symbol for an interim period following a feud between the two Sena factions — one led by Uddhav Thackeray and the other by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.

It also asked the two sides not to use the name ‘Shiv Sena’.

The EC on Monday assigned ‘ShivSena – Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray’ as the party name for the Thackeray faction, and ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’ (Balasaheb’s Shiv Sena) as the name for the party’s Eknath Shinde group.

Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar, who has been with the party since its inception, said the organization first contested polls of the civilian population, including Mumbai, in 1967-68 when most of its candidates used the ‘sword and shield’ symbol. got.

In 1985, many party candidates were given “flaming torch” as a symbol, he said.

Yogendra Thakur, who has written several books on the Shiv Sena and its founder Bal Thackeray, said in a July 23 article in Marmik magazine that senior party leader Madhukar Sarpotdar contested the Assembly’s 1985 poll from the Kherwadi seat in northwest Mumbai on the ‘flaming torch’ symbol.

Bal Thackeray had campaigned for him. At that time, a flaming torch was placed on the left side of the podium to convey the message about the party symbol to voters, Thakur said.

Marmik, a magazine devoted to cartoons, was edited by Bal Thackeray and his brother Shrikant in the 1960s, when the founder of Sena depicted through his caricatures what he termed “injustice” to the “Marathi manoos.”

In the 1985 Maharashtra Assembly polls, while some candidates competed for the ‘flaming torch’ symbol, the others competed for the ‘bat’, ‘sun’ and ‘cup and saucer’ symbols, Kirtikar said.
Chhagan Bhujbal was one of the candidates chosen on the symbol of the ‘flaming torch’.

In October 1970, in a bypoll in Mumbai, necessitated by the death of communist leader Krishna Desai, Wamanrao Mahadik fought over the symbol of the “rising sun” and won, Kirtikar said.

Yogendra Thakur said in 1988 that the Election Commission of India explained the history behind the symbols of the Shiv Sena and that all political parties should be registered.

Bal Thackeray then decided that the Shiv Sena should also be registered.

A panel composed of Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai, advocate Balkrishna Joshi and Vijay Nadkarni was formed to prepare a constitution for the party under the guidance of Manohar Joshi.

Bal Thackeray suggested some changes to the design and after making the necessary changes, the team went to Delhi to present his case to the electoral body.

They submitted all the necessary documents and the party was registered.

This had also helped the Shiv Sena get the “bow and arrow” symbol on which it contested the next election, Thakur said.

“Until then, the Shiv Sena contested polls on various symbols,” he added.

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