While a skirmish broke out in Dapoli in Ratnagiri on Saturday over control of a local shakha, functionaries with the Uddhav Thackeray faction said the shakha network was still with them and would not go anywhere. On the other hand, some observers said the Shinde Sena may capture the shakhas in a slow, phase-wise manner.
The Sena’s frontal organizations and unions will be another bone of contention with Shinde’s group being recognized as the real Shiv Sena by the Election Commission. How the Uddhav faction can, with party name and symbol gone, retain shakhas and office-bearers is another question.
Shiv Sena (Eknath Shinde faction) celebrates after ECI allots them Shiv Sena name, party symbol
The Sena has 227 shakhas in Mumbai and around 500 in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), including the Shinde stronghold of Thane, but they are mostly owned by the shakha pramukhs, local leaders and trusts. Almost none of the shakhas is owned by the Shiv Sena party itself.
Shinde Sena functionaries said that they are confident the shakha pramukhs will now pledge loyalty to the real Shiv Sena, and the first indication of this will be the removal of Uddhav and Aaditya’s photos from shakhas. They will be replaced with photos of CM Eknath Shinde alongside those of Sena founder, late Balasaheb Thackeray, and late Thane heavyweight Anand Dighe, whom Shinde considers his political mentor.
EC recognizes Eknath Shinde faction as real Shiv Sena
A bitter but more tactical and legal fight is set to break out for control of the Sena’s worker groups and unions in the state and Central government institutions, like the Bharatiya Kamgar Sena and Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samitiand wings in private organizations like hotels and business groups. A lot of the Sena’s muscle, money power and clout comes from its hold on these unions and organizations for decades.
In the Sena, the shakhas and the frontal organizations are said to be the party’s political capital and engines, along with party mouthpiece Saamna.
“Shiv Sena Bhavan and our shakhas will not be taken over by the Shinde faction just because of the EC’s order. Our Shiv Sainiks will sit there and that place will serve as a branch of Shiv Sena. Shiv Sena party is ours. A party is not going anywhere because a few people sitting on the chair made a decision. Sena shakhas, including Shiv Sena Bhavan, will stay with us”, Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut said.