In a setback for Sharad Pawar, the Election Commission on Tuesday officially recognised Ajit Pawar’s faction as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The EC’s decision is based on the “test of legislative majority,” granting Ajit Pawar’s group the NCP symbol amid internal election disputes.
“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” for the purposes of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968,” the EC’s order read.
The poll panel resolved the NCP dispute in favour of Ajit Pawar’s faction after over 10 hearings in 6 months. The commission has provided a one-time option to claim a name for their new formation and submit three preferences to the Commission, with the deadline set for 3 pm on February 7.
The hearings, which commenced on July 1 last year between factions led by Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar, involved strong legal teams from both sides, including Mukul Rohatgi, Neeraj Kishan Kaul, and Maninder Singh for the petitioner, and Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Devdatt Kamat from the respondent.
The test of majority in the legislative wing found favour in this case, where both groups were found to be operating outside the party constitution and organizational elections, according to the poll panel.
The occupants of the post were primarily assessed to be appointed by self-nominated members of the electoral college, going against internal party democracy.
Serious inconsistencies in terms of timelines in the Sharad Pawar group’s claim of having an organisational majority resulted in the unreliability of their claim, the panel stated.