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No Flowers For My Birthday, Give Me New Members, Urges Uddhav Thackeray

Shiv Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray has urged his followers to gift him “not flowers, but new members” on Wednesday, 27 July. The former chief minister turns 62 two days from now. Uddhav’s emotional appeal has come in the face of a challenge to establish that the Shiv Sena he heads is the ‘true’ organization. The Election Commission is scheduled to consider his plea for recognizing his faction and reserve its election symbol, Bow & Arrow. The rival faction led by chief minister Eknath Shinde has countered it. Both have been busy wooing the Sena workers to their side. Uddhav’s son Aaditya is on a whirlwind tour of the state to meet Sena workers face to face and ensure their backing. Shinde, too, has been meeting Sena workers from various parts of the state.  Shinde and deputy chief minister Devendra Fadanvis were in New Delhi for two days, ostensibly to attend the swearing in ceremony of President Droupadi Murmu. The duo is expected to announce the expansion of its team any moment now as part of its strategy to wean away Uddhav’s supporters. The EC will need signed affidavits from the rank and file belonging to both factions so as to evaluate their claims for recognition and the party’s election symbol