ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Developments in Maharashtra

Ironically, installing rule by manipulation is likely to be counterproductive.

After nearly eight months since the defection of 40 members of the legislative assembly caused the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government consisting of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and the Congress in Maharashtra, the Election Commission has decided that the name “Shiv Sena” and the symbol of bow and arrow shall belong to the faction led by the current chief minister of Maharashtra. Political claims about loyalty, treason, and legacy are being made from all sides in this dispute, however, the role of the Election Commission and allegations about political bias are what are most noteworthy in this controversy over symbols.

It also raises another question: Do symbols matter in politics? They used to matter a lot when education was not a mass resource in the early decades of electoral democracy in India. What matters today is the commitment to a party, personality, and ideology. The election symbols of left parties have not undergone any changes. But other parties have adopted newer symbols. Arguably, the communist party may not require a change in symbols because their ideology has been embodied in their consciousness. Their electoral base was almost constant until the rise of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal, however, it is still constant in Kerala. It should also be noted that the parties formed out of such splits like the TMC or NCP and the altogether new parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party could consolidate their support base despite having to contest on new or relatively lesser-known symbols. Hence, the Election Commission, which, on very flimsy grounds, has allotted the symbol of bow and arrow and the party name of “Shiv Sena” to the faction led by Eknath Shinde seems to be functioning with a naïve logic, though certain sinister motives cannot be ruled out.

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Updated On : 4th Mar, 2023
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