Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s faction wrote to the Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday evening requesting it to recognise their camp as the real ‘Shiv Sena’. This development comes after 12 of the 19 Sena MPs shifted their loyalty to Shinde and declared their colleague Rahul Shewale as their leader in the Lower House.

The letter to the poll body referred to the support of 12 Sena members of Lok Sabha to the Shinde faction.

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On Tuesday, as many as 12 Lok Sabha members wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla recognising Shewale as their leader, expressing no confidence in incumbent Vinayak Raut and retaining five-term member Bhawna Gawli as the chief whip.

The split in the Shiv Sena ranks in Parliament came a month after Shinde, along with a large chunk of MLAs, decided to revolt against the party leadership. The Shinde camp has 40 rebel MLAs from the Shiv Sena out of the total 55.

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Eknath Shinde took oath as the chief minister on June 30. This came a day after incumbent Uddhav Thackeray stepped down from the post in the wake of the rebellion leading to the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government.

On Monday evening, Thackeray-led Shiv Sena camp wrote to the Lok Sabha Speaker saying that Vinayak Raut was the “duly appointed” leader of its parliamentary party and urged him not to entertain any representation from the breakaway faction.

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The letter submitted to the Speaker by Raut, the leader of the Shiv Sena parliamentary party, also said that Rajan Vichare was the chief whip.

“You are therefore called upon not to acknowledge or entertain representation made by any other MP(s) or acknowledge or entertain any direction/whip issued by anybody else, falsely claiming to be the leader or the chief whip of the Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party,” Raut said.