NCP vs NCP: Sharad Pawar moves SC against ECI order favouring Ajit Pawar faction

New Delhi [India], February 13 (ANI): Sharad Pawar has moved the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Election Commission of India (ECI) officially recognising Ajit Pawar faction as the ‘real’ Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

On February 6, the poll panel while applying the test of majority in the legislative wing, had ruled that Ajit Pawar’s faction was the real NCP and permitted the faction to use the ‘clock’ symbol for the party.

In its order, the Election Commission had noted that the total number of NCP MLAs in the Maharashtra state assembly stood at 81 and out of this, Ajit Pawar submitted affidavits of 57 MLAs in his support while Sharad Pawar had only 28 affidavits.

Hence, the poll panel concluded that the Ajit Pawar faction enjoyed the majority support of the legislators and can lay claim to being NCP.

“The faction led by petitioner Ajit Anantrao Pawar is the Nationalist Congress Party and is entitled to use its name and reserved symbol ‘clock’ for the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment), Order 1968,” the Commission had noted.

Earlier, Ajit Pawar faction had also filed a caveat application in the Supreme Court in anticipation of the Sharad Pawar faction’s move and appeal against the Election Commission order.

A Caveat application is filed by a litigant to ensure that no adverse order is passed against him or her without being heard.

The Supreme Court had earlier extended the time till February 15 for the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar to pass the final order on the plea of Sharad Pawar faction seeking disqualification against rebel MLAs led by Ajit Pawar.

In July 2023, Sharad Pawar-led group filed disqualification petitions against eight MLAs for anti-party activities after Ajit Pawar split the party and joined the coalition government in Maharashtra as Deputy Chief Minister.

Jayant Patil, Sharad Pawar loyalist, later moved the apex court seeking direction to the Speaker for time-bound disposal of the disqualification petitions in view of a similar direction passed by the top court in the case involving Shiv Sena party dispute between Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde group.

The apex court had then asked the Speaker to fast-track the adjudication of the disqualification petitions.