EC test to settle intra-party disputes – majority in legislative, organisational wings


New Delhi: The Election Commission has settled internal disputes in several political parties with the test of majority in their legislative and organisational wings.

After it recognised the group led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde as the real Shiv Sena, the commission is now expected to deliver its final order on the internal dispute in the Lok Janshakti Party.

The LJP split in 2021, months after the demise of its founder Ram Vilas Paswan. Its two factions are now led by the founder’s son Chirag Paswan and brother Pashupati Kumar Paras.

In an interim order on October 2, 2021, the EC had barred the two factions from using the Lok Janshakti Party name or its symbol “bungalow” till the dispute was settled by it.

The interim order of the poll watchdog remains in force.

According to EC sources, the two factions have been seeking more time before the physical hearing in the dispute commences in the court of the Commission.

On Friday, the Election Commission allotted the name Shiv Sena and its poll symbol “bow and arrow” to the group led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, in a big blow to Uddhav Thackeray.

Article 324 of the Constitution and the Symbols Order of 1968 empower the Election Commission to adjudicate internal party feuds.

While settling such disputes, the EC functions as a quasi-judicial body and the aggrieved parties are free to approach the high court or the Supreme Court challenging its order.

Since 1969, when the Congress witnessed its first split, the EC has applied the test of majority in the legislative and organisational wings of parties to settle various disputes.

The EC’s orders have been upheld by courts when challenged.

In early 2017, the dispute between Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh Yadav reached the EC.

In its order, the EC handed over the name Samajwadi Party and its election symbol “cycle” to Akhilesh Yadav.

The poll panel had noted that Akhilesh Yadav enjoyed the support of the legislative wing and the organisational side of the party.

Following the demise of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa in 2016, her AIADMK saw a dispute between O Panneerselvam and Sasikala-E K Palaniswami factions.

Next year the two factions had staked claim over the party and its “two leaves” symbol. Later, Panneerselvam and Palaniswami joined hands and removed Sasikala and her supporters from the party.

Later, the EC allotted the “two leaves” symbol to the Panneerselvam-Palaniswami factions noting that they enjoyed the support of the legislative as well as organisational wings of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

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( With inputs from )

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