Shiv Sena-UBT has blazed a trail with ‘Flaming Torch’ in past too

Insight Online News

Mumbai, Oct 11 : The newly-christened Shiv Sena-Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray is an old hand at handling its new party symbol of a ‘mashaal’ (flaming Torch) – allotted by the Election Commission ahead of the upcoming Andheri East Assembly bypolls.

It was way back in 1985, when the Shiv Sena founder-patriarch Balasaheb Thackeray had nominated his close confidante, Chhagan Bhujbal to contest the Mazagaon Assembly seat.

Thackeray had himself campaigned for Bhujbal – who won hands down, becoming the sole party MLA in the 7th Maharashtra Legislative Assembly then.

“The ‘Flaming Torch’ was chosen because it was a symbol of revolution, showing a new path to the people of the state… I became the only candidate to win the polls that time and Balasaheb was very pleased about it,” Bhujbal told media persons.

“History repeats itself… The ‘flaming torch’ was easy to remember, we could easily draw it on posters, even during campaigns,” recalled the 74-year-old Bhujbal, who also became the Mayor of Mumbai.

In his first comments on the issue on Tuesday, Shiv Sena-UBT President Uddhav Thackeray said the ‘flaming torch’ will burn out injustice and oppression even as the party celebrated the new symbol across the state.

The party’s candidate from Andheri East, Rutuja R. Latke will file her nomination papers for the assembly bypoll with the new symbol.

The Shiv Sena-UBT, the Congress, and the NCP have extended their full backing to Latke and have assured to work hard and ensure her victory.

The Shiv Sena was given a permanent election symbol – ‘Bow and Arrow’ – in 1989, on which it had contested all subsequent elections.

However, after the rebellion by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s group in June, the EC has frozen the party’s name and symbol.

The poll panel allotted new names to both the Thackeray and Shinde factions, and the ‘flaming torch’ symbol to the Shiv Sena-UBT, while the Shinde-led ‘Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena’ is awaiting its electoral symbol.

Interestingly, as far as Bhujbal was concerned, after his flaming torch-led victory for Shiv Sena in 1985, he also became the first ‘rebel’ to quit the party in a huff in 1991 to join the Congress, then headed by the veteran Sharad Pawar in the state.

Later, in 1999, when Pawar raised the banner of revolt against the Congress and walked out to form the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Bhujbal followed him.

Subsequently, after the Congress-NCP won that year’s Assembly elections, Bhujbal was rewarded with the post of Deputy Chief Minister in the Democratic Front government which ruled for 15 years till 2014.


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