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The Election Commission has asked Uddhav Thackeray and incumbent Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to submit documentary evidence to prove that they alone enjoy respective majority support in the Shiv Sena party.

The poll panel has asked both the factions to file their replies by 1 pm on August 8. Earlier this week, the Shinde faction of the Shiv Sena had written to the Commission seeking allocation of the party's 'bow and arrow' election symbol to it, citing the recognition granted to them in the Lok Sabha and the Maharashtra Assembly.

The claim over the symbol assumes significance as the Supreme Court had on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra State Election Commission to notify elections to local bodies within two weeks.

Elections are due in several civic bodies in Maharashtra, including the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which would indicate which Sena faction gets the popular support.

Last month, India observed one of the ugliest political crises in Maharashtra as the fight between two factions of Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde) intensified. Shinde, a grassroots Maratha politician always identified with his party's planks of Hindutva and ethnic sub-nationalism and said Thackeray was a 'fake Shiv Sainik'. Therefore, Shinde led a revolt against Uddhav Thackeray and the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government comprising an alliance among Shiv Sena, Congress, and National Congress Party. Subsequently, he won the support of several Shiv Sena MLAs and pressurized Thackeray to gove up the chief ministerial post. And, this rebellion led to the collapse of the Thackeray-led MVA government. On June 30, Shinde took oath as Maharashtra CM along with BJP's Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy. Since then, Shinde has claimed that the majority of the MLAs are with him.

Shinde's camp has selected the Speaker and Chief Whip in Maharashtra and has also picked the party's floor leader in Lok Sabha after 12 of the 19 MPs gave their support to the rebel camp.

On the other hand, Thackeray's faction claimed that the appointments were 'illegal' until the Supreme Court decides on disqualification notices that were issued against the rebel legislators before the MVA government fell.

Meanwhile, Shinde's faction is reportedly moving to take control of the Shiv Sena's representative council. The council is Sena's largest official forum with 282 mebers and comprises Sena office-bearers from party president to Shakha pramukhs.

Shinde's faction has already written to the poll body to gain recognition as the real Shiv Sena.

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