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Big Jolt To Sharad Pawar As EC Says Ajit Pawar-Led Faction Is ‘Real’ NCP |

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NEW DELHI: The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday dealt a major blow to the faction helmed by veteran Maharashtra leader Sharad Pawar by settling the dispute within the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in favor of the faction led by his nephew and state’s deputy chief. minister Ajit Pawar. According to the sources, the poll panel has given the Nationalist Congress Party name and symbol to the faction led by Ajit Pawar in a significant decision that is likely to have a bearing on the upcoming polls. The Election Commission also provided the Sharad Pawar faction with a one-time option to choose a name for its new political entity and provide three preferences to the poll body. The concession is to be utilized by 3 pm on February 7, 2024, the poll body said.

EC settles the dispute in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), rules in favor of the faction led by Ajit Pawar, after more than 10 hearings spread over more than 6 months.

Election Commission of India provides a one-time option to claim a name for its new political formation… — ANI (@ANI) February 6, 2024

Welcoming the EC decision, Ajit Pawar faction leader Praful Patel said, “We welcome the ruling of the Election Commission…We live in a democracy and any decision can be challenged. Maybe attempts will be made to challenge this at the Supreme Court or High Court…All I would like to say is that the decision we made was correct and through EC, our decision has been proven correct.”

Maharashtra Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis also congratulated NCP leader Ajit Pawar after ECI ruled the NCP name and symbol matter in favor of his faction.

However, Sharad Pawar’s daughter and MP Supriya Sule said, “…Our documents were fine. The founder member and founder leader of this party is only Sharad Pawar…But now the atmosphere is something else right now. There is an ‘ adrishya shakti’ in the country which is doing all this. We will fight…We will definitely go to Supreme Court…”

She went on to add, ”…I think what happened with Shiv Sena is what is happening with us today. So, this is not a new order. Just the names have been changed but the content is the same…”

Celebrations At Ajit Pawar’s Mumbai Office

Celebrations began outside Ajit Pawar’s office in Mumbai soon after the EC ruled in favor of their faction.

EC Decision Shakes Up NCP Dynamics

The decision, announced on Tuesday, not only grants legitimacy to the Ajit Pawar faction but also bestows upon it the coveted NCP name and symbol, setting the stage for upcoming electoral contests. Facing a tight deadline, the Sharad Pawar-led faction has been offered a one-time opportunity to christen its new political entity and submit three preferred names to the Commission by February 7, 2024, by 3 pm.

EC Verdict After More Than 10 Hearings

Following an exhaustive process spanning over six months and encompassing more than ten hearings, the EC meticulously weighed the merits of both factions’ contentions.

Prolonged Legal Battle In Court

The legal battle witnessed formidable representation from luminaries such as Mukul Rohatgi, Neeraj Kishan Kaul, and Maninder Singh for the petitioner, countered by the expertise of Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Devdatt Kamat from the respondent camp.

Central to the EC’s decision was the determination of the faction holding sway over the party’s legislative wing, which ultimately favored the Ajit Pawar-led contingent. Serious discrepancies in the Sharad Pawar faction’s claims, particularly regarding organizational majority and adherence to the party constitution, undermined the credibility of their assertions. Given the imminent Rajya Sabha elections in Maharashtra, the EC has extended a special allowance to the Sharad Pawar faction, urging compliance with electoral regulations.

EC Seeks Transparency In Political Processes

In a broader admonition, the Commission urged political entities to embrace transparency in their internal affairs, emphasizing the need for comprehensive disclosures regarding organizational elections and democratic procedures.

Call For Public Disclosure

Proposing voluntary public disclosures, including party constitutions, electoral procedures, and office-bearer lists on party websites, the EC seeks to empower the electorate with crucial information, thereby enriching the democratic process.