In a significant development, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has resolved the dispute over the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) name and symbol in favour of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s faction. This decision marks the culmination of months of internal strife within the party.
Reacting to the ruling, Maharashtra leader and Sharad Pawar faction’s Anil Deshmukh expressed dismay, stating, “Today the Election Commission has given Sharad Pawar’s party’s name and symbol to Ajit Pawar. A similar decision was taken in the case of Shiv Sena. NCP was founded by Sharad Pawar. He had been the president of the party for years. The Election Commission’s decision under pressure is the murder of democracy. This is unfortunate.”
#WATCH | Nagpur: On Ajit Pawar getting the NCP name and symbol, Maharashtra leader Anil Deshmukh says, “Today the Election Commission has given Sharad Pawar’s party’s name and symbol to Ajit Pawar. A similar decision was taken in the case of Shiv Sena. NCP was founded by Sharad… pic.twitter.com/js4O1S85T0
— ANI (@ANI) February 6, 2024
“It was bound to happen, there is nothing new in it. The day they revoked our national party status, we knew this day would come. It was our biggest mistake to take Ajit Pawar back in our party and make him Deputy CM,” NCP (Sharad Pawar faction) leader Jitendra Awhad told news agency PTI.
VIDEO | “It was bound to happen, there is nothing new in it. The day they revoked our national party status, we knew this day would come. It was our biggest mistake to take Ajit Pawar back in our party and make him Deputy CM,” says NCP (Sharad Pawar faction) leader Jitendra Awhad… pic.twitter.com/Xt8Q8ideqm
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) February 6, 2024
Echoing similar sentiments, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi criticised the decision and told ANI, “I am not surprised at all. A man who was charged of corruption of worth Rs 70,000 Crores…today stands shoulder to shoulder with the BJP…Ajit Pawar happens to be the Deputy CM of Maharashtra…It goes against the spirit of Schedule 10 of the Constitution…It is sponsored, planned and executed by the Central Government to try and silence those voices which speak for the people of this country, which speak strongly against the growing dictatorial tendencies of the Government.”
#WATCH | On NCP name & symbol matter ruled by EC in favour of Ajit Pawar, Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi says, “I am not surprised at all. A man who was charged of corruption of worth Rs 70,000 Crores…today stands shoulder to shoulder with the BJP…Ajit Pawar happens… pic.twitter.com/s7wFs8YSOU
— ANI (@ANI) February 6, 2024
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar welcomed the Election Commission’s decision, stating, “Election Commission has ruled in our favour after listening to the arguments of our lawyers. We welcome this humbly”, ANI reported.
Ajit Pawar’s fellow deputy and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis congratulated him on the ECI ruling saying, “Deputy Chief Minister Ajitdada Pawar who is a constituent member in our Mahayuti has been granted recognition by the Election Commission as the real NCP awell as the symbol of the clock. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to him, as well as to all our supporters and workers.”
आमच्या महायुतीतील घटक पक्ष असलेल्या उपमुख्यमंत्री अजितदादा पवार यांना राष्ट्रवादी काँग्रेस पक्ष तसेच घड्याळ चिन्ह म्हणून निवडणूक आयोगाकडून मान्यता मिळाली, मी त्यांचे, सर्व सहकारी तसेच कार्यकर्त्यांचे मनापासून अभिनंदन करतो.@AjitPawarSpeaks @mahancpspeaks
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) February 6, 2024
The Election Commission’s decision firmly establishes Ajit Pawar’s faction as the legitimate NCP, putting an end to speculation surrounding the internal power struggle within the party. The commission also allocated the NCP symbol ‘Wall Clock’ to Ajit Pawar’s group.
Explaining the rationale behind its decision, the Election Commission stated that it considered various factors, including the aims and objectives of the party constitution, organizational elections, and legislative majority. The commission noted that both factions were found to be working outside the party constitution and organizational elections. Consequently, the test of majority in the legislative wing favoured Ajit Pawar’s faction.
In a gesture to Sharad Pawar’s group, the commission granted them a one-time option to claim a name for their political outfit and provide three preferences by Wednesday afternoon, particularly in view of the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.
Ajit Pawar’s defection last year, where he sided with the BJP-Shiv Sena government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in Maharashtra, triggered the protracted dispute within the NCP.