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Uddhav Can Hold Dussehra Rally at Shivaji Park, Says HC: Why Is It Significant?

Since 1966, the Shiv Sena held the Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park, a norm that Eknath Shinde challenged this year.

Updated
Politics
5 min read
Uddhav Can Hold Dussehra Rally at Shivaji Park, Says HC: Why Is It Significant?
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30 October 1966 - A 40-year old Bal Thackeray addressed his first Dussehra mega rally at Mumbai's Shivaji Park after the formation of the Shiv Sena that year.

24 October 2012 - An 86-year-old Bal Thackeray addressed his last Dussehra rally at Mumbai's Shivaji Park, and appealed the cadre to "take care of Uddhav Thackeray" after him.

For 56 years, barring the two years of pandemic in 2020 and 2021, a Thackeray has addressed the state and the Shiv Sena cadre on every Dussehra at the iconic Shivaji park in Mumbai's Dadar suburb. But for the first time in 56 years, the Shiv Sena's 'tradition' was challenged by the Eknath Shinde faction, amid a tussle for the legacy of the party following a split in June this year.

In a big win for Uddhav Thackeray, the Bombay High Court on Friday, 23 September, granted permission to Uddhav Thackeray to hold a Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had denied permission to either factions citing law and order situation which the Mumbai Police had warned the civic body of, if either factions were to hold a rally at the venue.

In six points, we take a look at the significance of the Shiv Sena's Dussehra rally at the venue and the battle that took place ahead of the high court order on Friday.

Uddhav Can Hold Dussehra Rally at Shivaji Park, Says HC: Why Is It Significant?

  1. 1. 'Law & Order Not Our Problem': What Happened in HC

    The Bombay High Court allowed the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena to use the venue from 2-6 October. The Dusshera rally is to be held at the venue on 5 October.

    Over the law and order concerns raised by the BMC and the Mumbai Police, the HC has asked for the event to be video recorded. Here's what happened in the hearing:

    • The court rejected the intervention application filed by Shinde faction's Sada Sarvankar opposing the petition, stating that Sarvankar has no locus in the matter.

    • Senior Advocate Aspi Chinoy for Thackeray led Shiv Sena argued that maintaining the law and order was not the party's problem and that the Thackeray faction had applied for permission 22 and 26 August, before Sada Sarvankar applied on 30 August.

    • Chinoy also argued that the question of the real Shiv Sena does not come here and that Sarvankar has filed the intervention application to obfuscate the matter.

    • "The commissioner accepts on the record that the permission is sought by Shiv Sena. The aim of this intervention application is that the issue here loses focus and becomes a political slugfest," submitted Chinoy, as quoted by LiveLaw.

    • Senior Advocate Milind Sathe for BMC submitted that no right of the petitioner is being infringed and that Shivaji Park is a playground and a silent zone. "The only right is to assemble peacefully. There is no right to hold a rally at this ground," Sathe argued.

    Expand
  2. 2. 1966-2022: The Bond Between Shiv Sena and Shivaji Park

    There is a five-decade-long traditional, cultural, and political bond between the Shiv Sena and the Shivaji Park. Here's a look at some of the significant events of the Shiv Sena that have taken place at Shivaji Park:

    • October 1966: Bal Thackeray held the first mega rally on Dusshera after the party's formation that year

    • March 1995: The first Sena CM Manohar Joshi took oath at Shivaji park

    • October 2010:  Aditya Thackeray was officially launched into politics with the Yuva Sena at the Dusshera rally

    • November 2012: Bal Thackeray was cremated at Shivaji park

    • November 2019: Uddhav took oath as the first Thackeray to become the CM

    • A bust of Bal Thackeray's late wife, Meenatai, and a memorial of Bal Thackeray himself are at Shivaji Park

    For over five decades, all major announcements of the Shiv Sena have been made by a Thackeray at the 'Dasra Melava' at Shivaji Park every single year, making the Dusshera rally at Shivaji park a major aspect of the party legacy.

    Expand
  3. 3. 'Khari Shiv Sena': Uddhav To Continue the 'Tradition' Amid Battle With Shinde

    The Uddhav Thackery-led Shiv Sena split in June this year after a rebellion within the party, leading to the fall of the Sena-Congress-NCP's Maha Vikas Aghadi government and Sena rebel Eknath Shinde becoming the chief minister.

    Political, legal, ideological – both factions are now fighting for the legacy of Bal Thackeray, the party name, and the bow and arrow symbol at multiple levels.

    Khari Shiv Sena konti? (Who is the real shiv Sena?) – Is a question that's being asked ever since the party split.

    While the Shinde faction has already got an alternate venue approved at the MMRDA grounds in the Bandra-Kurla Complex, the Uddhav faction was adamant on holding the rally at Shivaji park and took the battle to the Bombay High Court. 

    But three months after the split, the Dusshera rallies by the two factions might just make the answer to this question a bit clearer, with all eyes on the turnout at both rallies and bids to one up the other politically.

    Expand
  4. 4. Sensitive Area: Why BMC, Mumbai Police Had Denied Permissions

    On 22 August, Anil Desai of the Thackeray-led Sena had applied to the BMC for permission for Shivaji Park. On 30 August, MLA Sada Sarvankar of the Shinde faction also made a similar application.

    The Mumbai Police cited possible law and order issues at the venue if either of the factions was given permission, Deputy municipal commissioner (zone-2) in separate letters sent to the two factions on Wednesday denied permission to use the ground.

    In its letters rejecting the applications, the BMC cited remarks by the Shivaji Park police station that "if any one of the applicants is granted permission to hold the rally, this may create a serious problem of law and order in the sensitive area of Shivaji Park."

    The Bombay High Court on Thursday allowed the Thackeray-led Sena to amend its earlier petition so as to challenge the denial of permission. In the original petition, the Sena had sought a direction for the BMC to decide its application. The court also heard an application filed by Shinde faction's Sada Sarvankar, opposing the Thackeray-led Sena's petition.

    Expand
  5. 5. On Shivaji Park Row, Shinde Faction Worried About Identity as 'Real Sena'

    In its petition to Bombay HC, Sarvankar's application said that the dispute as to who represents the "real Shiv Sena" was pending before the Supreme Court, hence, the high court should not hear or pass any directions on the present petition.

    Kiran Pawaskar, spokesperson of the Shinde camp, said it will keep trying to get the Shivaji Park for its event till the last moment.

    The BMC denying their group the permission despite Shinde being chief minister showed that it was not acting under pressure, he added.

    Expand
  6. 6. 'Faith In Judiciary Stands Vindicated': Thackeray, Desai Welcome Court Order

    Meanwhile, welcoming the Bombay High Court's decision, Uddhav Thackeray on 24 September, said that his party's faith in the judiciary stood vindicated.

    "Our faith in the judiciary stands vindicated. We never stopped holding the congregation at Vijayadashmi at Shivaji Park since the inception of the party, except during the time of the coronavirus pandemic. We are taking this tradition forward, he told reporters after the HC order," he told reporters after the HC order, according to news agency PTI.

    Anil Desai, the Thackeray faction petitioner, while noting that Uddhav was happy with the Bombay HC decision, added that ''Dussehra melawa is not only for Shiv Sena but it is for all who believe in Hindutva."

    When asked whether the victory in court bring about a change of fortune for Thackeray, Desai said, ''Let's hope for the best and truth will always prevail.''

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

'Law & Order Not Our Problem': What Happened in HC

The Bombay High Court allowed the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena to use the venue from 2-6 October. The Dusshera rally is to be held at the venue on 5 October.

Over the law and order concerns raised by the BMC and the Mumbai Police, the HC has asked for the event to be video recorded. Here's what happened in the hearing:

  • The court rejected the intervention application filed by Shinde faction's Sada Sarvankar opposing the petition, stating that Sarvankar has no locus in the matter.

  • Senior Advocate Aspi Chinoy for Thackeray led Shiv Sena argued that maintaining the law and order was not the party's problem and that the Thackeray faction had applied for permission 22 and 26 August, before Sada Sarvankar applied on 30 August.

  • Chinoy also argued that the question of the real Shiv Sena does not come here and that Sarvankar has filed the intervention application to obfuscate the matter.

  • "The commissioner accepts on the record that the permission is sought by Shiv Sena. The aim of this intervention application is that the issue here loses focus and becomes a political slugfest," submitted Chinoy, as quoted by LiveLaw.

  • Senior Advocate Milind Sathe for BMC submitted that no right of the petitioner is being infringed and that Shivaji Park is a playground and a silent zone. "The only right is to assemble peacefully. There is no right to hold a rally at this ground," Sathe argued.

ADVERTISEMENT

1966-2022: The Bond Between Shiv Sena and Shivaji Park

There is a five-decade-long traditional, cultural, and political bond between the Shiv Sena and the Shivaji Park. Here's a look at some of the significant events of the Shiv Sena that have taken place at Shivaji Park:

  • October 1966: Bal Thackeray held the first mega rally on Dusshera after the party's formation that year

  • March 1995: The first Sena CM Manohar Joshi took oath at Shivaji park

  • October 2010:  Aditya Thackeray was officially launched into politics with the Yuva Sena at the Dusshera rally

  • November 2012: Bal Thackeray was cremated at Shivaji park

  • November 2019: Uddhav took oath as the first Thackeray to become the CM

  • A bust of Bal Thackeray's late wife, Meenatai, and a memorial of Bal Thackeray himself are at Shivaji Park

For over five decades, all major announcements of the Shiv Sena have been made by a Thackeray at the 'Dasra Melava' at Shivaji Park every single year, making the Dusshera rally at Shivaji park a major aspect of the party legacy.

ADVERTISEMENT

'Khari Shiv Sena': Uddhav To Continue the 'Tradition' Amid Battle With Shinde

The Uddhav Thackery-led Shiv Sena split in June this year after a rebellion within the party, leading to the fall of the Sena-Congress-NCP's Maha Vikas Aghadi government and Sena rebel Eknath Shinde becoming the chief minister.

Political, legal, ideological – both factions are now fighting for the legacy of Bal Thackeray, the party name, and the bow and arrow symbol at multiple levels.

Khari Shiv Sena konti? (Who is the real shiv Sena?) – Is a question that's being asked ever since the party split.

While the Shinde faction has already got an alternate venue approved at the MMRDA grounds in the Bandra-Kurla Complex, the Uddhav faction was adamant on holding the rally at Shivaji park and took the battle to the Bombay High Court. 

But three months after the split, the Dusshera rallies by the two factions might just make the answer to this question a bit clearer, with all eyes on the turnout at both rallies and bids to one up the other politically.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sensitive Area: Why BMC, Mumbai Police Had Denied Permissions

On 22 August, Anil Desai of the Thackeray-led Sena had applied to the BMC for permission for Shivaji Park. On 30 August, MLA Sada Sarvankar of the Shinde faction also made a similar application.

The Mumbai Police cited possible law and order issues at the venue if either of the factions was given permission, Deputy municipal commissioner (zone-2) in separate letters sent to the two factions on Wednesday denied permission to use the ground.

In its letters rejecting the applications, the BMC cited remarks by the Shivaji Park police station that "if any one of the applicants is granted permission to hold the rally, this may create a serious problem of law and order in the sensitive area of Shivaji Park."

The Bombay High Court on Thursday allowed the Thackeray-led Sena to amend its earlier petition so as to challenge the denial of permission. In the original petition, the Sena had sought a direction for the BMC to decide its application. The court also heard an application filed by Shinde faction's Sada Sarvankar, opposing the Thackeray-led Sena's petition.

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On Shivaji Park Row, Shinde Faction Worried About Identity as 'Real Sena'

In its petition to Bombay HC, Sarvankar's application said that the dispute as to who represents the "real Shiv Sena" was pending before the Supreme Court, hence, the high court should not hear or pass any directions on the present petition.

Kiran Pawaskar, spokesperson of the Shinde camp, said it will keep trying to get the Shivaji Park for its event till the last moment.

The BMC denying their group the permission despite Shinde being chief minister showed that it was not acting under pressure, he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

'Faith In Judiciary Stands Vindicated': Thackeray, Desai Welcome Court Order

Meanwhile, welcoming the Bombay High Court's decision, Uddhav Thackeray on 24 September, said that his party's faith in the judiciary stood vindicated.

"Our faith in the judiciary stands vindicated. We never stopped holding the congregation at Vijayadashmi at Shivaji Park since the inception of the party, except during the time of the coronavirus pandemic. We are taking this tradition forward, he told reporters after the HC order," he told reporters after the HC order, according to news agency PTI.

Anil Desai, the Thackeray faction petitioner, while noting that Uddhav was happy with the Bombay HC decision, added that ''Dussehra melawa is not only for Shiv Sena but it is for all who believe in Hindutva."

When asked whether the victory in court bring about a change of fortune for Thackeray, Desai said, ''Let's hope for the best and truth will always prevail.''

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from news and politics

Topics:  BJP   Shiv Sena   Uddhav Thackeray 

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Edited By :Ahamad Fuwad
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