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Ajit Pawar’s faction is real Nationalist Congress Party, rules Election Commission

NEW DELHI: The Ajit Pawar faction is the real Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Election Commission announced on Tuesday, in a major setback to party founder Sharad Pawar.

In an order, the Election Commission (EC) also allotted the NCP symbol ‘Clock’ to the group led by Ajit Pawar.

The decision followed the laid-out tests of maintainability of such a petition which included tests of aims and objectives of party constitution, test of party constitution and tests of majority both organisational and legislative, the commission said.

“We humbly accept the decision given by the Election Commission after listening to the side presented by our lawyers,” Ajit Pawar said on ‘X’.

The Ajit Pawar faction is the real Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Election Commission announced on Tuesday, in a major setback to party founder Sharad Pawar.

In an order, the Election Commission (EC) also allotted the NCP symbol ‘Clock’ to the group led by Ajit Pawar.

The decision followed the laid-out tests of maintainability of such a petition which included tests of aims and objectives of party constitution, test of party constitution and tests of majority both organisational and legislative, the commission said.

“We humbly accept the decision given by the Election Commission after listening to the side presented by our lawyers,” Ajit Pawar said on ‘X’.

The Sharad Pawar faction termed the EC’s decision as murder of democracy. “This is the murder of democracy. What happened is unfortunate,” Anil Deshmukh, leader of the Sharad Pawar group, said.

“We are clearly doing two things. First, we are going to the Supreme Court in the next 48 hours. Second, the Election Commission has given us an option to give them three names and three symbols by tomorrow evening, so we will of course do that,” Sharad Pawar group leader Supriya Sule said.

NCP working president Praful Patel, who is with Ajit Pawar, told PTI, “We express satisfaction that the matter is now resolved. The Election Commission has issued a detailed speaking order. There should not be any problem now.” Ajit Pawar had walked away with a majority of NCP MLAs in July last year and supported the BJP-Shiv Sena government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in Maharashtra.

He had submitted the petition with the EC two days before he and eight other MLAs took oath as ministers in the Shinde government.

The EC’s decision comes days ahead of the retirement of Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey. Since it is a quasi judicial order, it has to be signed by all the three members of the commission.

“The test of majority in the legislative wing found favour in this circumstance of the case, where both groups have found to be working outside the party constitution and the organisational elections,” the poll authority observed.

The EC made a concession to the group led by Sharad Pawar by allowing it a “one-time option” to claim a name for its political outfit and provide three preferences by Wednesday afternoon in view of the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.

“…this commission holds that the faction led by the petitioner, Sh Ajit Anantrao Pawar, is the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and is entitled to use its name and reserved symbol “clock” of the purposes of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968,” the 140-page order said.

The commission said there were serious inconsistencies in terms of time-lines in the claim of the Sharad Pawar group on organisational majority, which resulted in unreliability of their claim.

It also expressed hope that political parties will adopt good disclosure practices of organisational elections and internal party democracy.

In its order, the EC advised that “perhaps time has come for political parties to consider voluntary wider public disclosures of party constitution, amendments thereof, if any internal electoral steps such as publication of electoral college, dates of elections, time and venue of elections of different tiers, candidates, compliant redressal mechanisms within their organizations, and list of elected office bearers.” “Such disclosures on their websites shall keep the most valuable stakeholder of our electoral democracy, that is the electorate at large duly informed,” the commission said.

Ajit Pawar had walked away with a majority of NCP MLAs in July last year and supported the BJP-Shiv Sena government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in Maharashtra.

 

Source: Press Trust of India

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