NCP factional war reaches Election Commission; Ajit Pawar declared party chief in resolution shared by his faction

07:50 PM Jul 05, 2023 | PTI |

New Delhi: Two days before rebelling against uncle Sharad Pawar to join the Maharashtra government last Sunday, NCP leader Ajit Pawar approached the Election Commission on June 30 staking claim to the party name as well as symbol and subsequently also declared himself as president with support of 40 lawmakers, sources said.


As the factional fight in the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) reached the doorstep of the Election Commission, the Sharad Pawar-led group also filed a caveat through email on July 3 — a day after the rebellion became public with the swearing-in of Ajit Pawar as deputy chief minister and eight other MLAs as ministers in the BJP-Shiv Sena government.

The sources said the poll panel will take action on petitions and cross-petitions ”as per extant legal framework”.

The ECI received Ajit Pawar’s petition on June 30 under para 15 of the Election Symbols Order, which deals with claim by splinter groups and rival factions of recognised parties on the party name and symbol, the sources added.

This was followed by 40 affidavits of MPs, MLAs, MLCs dated June 30, received by the ECI on July 5, and an undated resolution ”unanimously” electing Ajit Pawar as president of NCP.


While the list submitted by the Ajit Pawar faction comprised MPs, MLAs and MLCs, the actual number of MLAs present at the show of strength at MET College was 32, four short of the two-thirds strength of 36.

The sources said the ECI also received an email dated July 3 from Maharashtra NCP president Jayant R Patil filing a caveat urging the poll panel to hear them (Sharad Pawar group) first before passing any directive in connection with the factional fight.

The ECI also received a letter, dated July 3, from Patil informing the panel that disqualification proceeding has been filed with the competent authority against nine MLAs of NCP, including Ajit Pawar. The Election Commission is likely to process applications in the coming days and ask both the sides to exchange the respective documents submitted before it.

The NCP, founded by Sharad Pawar in 1999, witnessed a split on Sunday with Ajit Pawar, claiming support of over 40 MLAs and joining the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition government in Maharashtra. Nine NCP MLAs, including Ajit Pawar, were sworn-in as ministers in the Maharashtra government at a surprise cabinet expansion on Sunday.

Ajit Pawar, with senior party leaders Praful Patel, Chhagan Bhujbal, Dilip Walse Patil by his side, asserted to be the real NCP.

Sharad Pawar also asserted to be the real NCP, and expelled Patel and Lok Sabha member Sunil Tatkare from the party. It had also written to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar seeking to disqualify the nine MLAs who were sworn-in as ministers on Sunday.


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