HC would consider the Thackeray camp’s request to not delay approval of the Dussehra rally

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As part of a power struggle with the camp of chief minister Eknath Shinde, the Shiv Sena, led by Uddhav Thackeray, will ask the Bombay High Court on Thursday for directions to the municipal authorities regarding their applications to hold their annual Dussehra rally at Mumbai’s Shivaji Park on October 5.

The gathering is anticipated to be Thackeray’s first public display of strength since he was forced to resign as chief minister in June after MPs led by Shinde revolted against him and formed a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Shiv Sena has not formally broken up. The Shinde faction is supported by the majority of the party’s lawmakers, who assert that they represent the true Shiv Sena.

For the rally, both groups have requested authorization. The Thackeray camp has charged Shinde of putting pressure on the local government.

The high court will hear the appeal just days before Shinde’s petition to have the Election Commission of India decide his claim over the “genuine” Shiv Sena and the party symbol is scheduled to be heard by a five-judge Supreme Court constitution bench on September 27. The Thackeray campaign has asked total estoppel from the actions taken in front of the poll watchdog.

Following Anil Desai, the faction’s secretary, mentioning it for an urgent listing on Wednesday, the high court listed the Thackeray faction’s request for a hearing. According to the complaint, the Shiv Sena has been hosting rallies at Shivaji Park since the organization’s founding in 1966, and members of the party regularly attend these events without an official invitation.

According to the Thackeray faction, the civic authorities have yet to approve their request for authorization to hold the event on August 22 and August 26. It asked for instructions on how to get the clearance from the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) within three days.

Justices R D Dhanuka and Kamal Khata’s division bench heard arguments from attorney Joel Carlos, who represented the Thackeray faction, claiming the BMC has no basis to deny the plea urgent hearing because of the authorization.