Sharad Pawar suffered a serious setback on Tuesday (6 February) after the Election Commission of India (ECI) recognised Ajit Pawar-led faction as the actual Nationalist Congress Party (NCP). The ballot physique awarded the celebration title and its ‘clock’ symbol to the camp led by senior Pawar’s nephew, Ajit.
The EC additionally gave a one-time concession to the Sharad Pawar-led faction to choose a brand new title and symbol for the celebration for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections for six seats in Maharashtra by four pm on Wednesday.
This comes almost a yr after the EC recognised Eknath Shinde-led faction of the Shiv Sena because the official Shiv Sena, in a blow to Uddhav Thackeray.
Why did the EC award the NCP title and symbol to the Ajit Pawar camp? What have been the reactions to the event? What will Sharad Pawar do now? Let’s take a more in-depth look.
What did the Election Commission say?
The EC mentioned in its order on Tuesday that it primarily based its choice on the “test of legislative majority” within the Ajit Pawar faction. Last July, the junior Pawar, who’s at present the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, revolted in opposition to his uncle and break up the NCP into two teams.
According to the ECI order, out of the full 81 MPs, MLAs, and MLCs of the NCP, 57 had backed Ajit Pawar and 28 had supported his uncle, reported Indian Express. However, 5 MLAs and one Lok Sabha MP gave affidavits supporting each factions. Even after excluding these six, the Ajit Pawar camp had the bulk, the order said.
“Ajit Pawar faction enjoyed majority support of legislators. (The) commission holds that Ajit Pawar is the Nationalist Congress Party and is entitled to use its name and reserved symbol of ‘clock’,” ThePrint quoted the ECI order as saying.
Reactions to the ECI order
The Sharad Pawar faction of the NCP termed the ECI order a “murder of democracy”.
“We all know that NCP was formed by Sharad Pawar and he was the president of the party. But this way the decision taken, because of pressure, is a murder of democracy. This is unfortunate,” Anil Deshmukh, an MLA of the Sharad Pawar camp, advised the media.
NCP MP and Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule mentioned the election physique’s ruling was the “victory of the invisible power”. “This is a huge conspiracy against Maharashtra and Marathi people. However, I am not at all surprised by this decision,” PTI quoted her as saying.
Ajit Pawar camp and its ruling coalition welcomed the EC order. The junior Pawar mentioned he accepts the choice “with humility”. “In a democracy, priority is given to the majority which is why the poll commission has allotted the party name and symbol to us”.
Senior NCP chief Praful Patel mentioned the ECI ruling confirmed that almost all of NCP staff and elected representatives are with Ajit Pawar.
“We welcome the ruling of the EC…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,” Patel, who belongs to the Ajit Pawar faction, reportedly mentioned.
Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Devendra Fadnavis additionally welcomed the ballot physique’s choice. “The Election Commission has given the verdict based on merit and majority. The majority has an important role in democracy. The ECI took a similar decision during our case as well,” Shinde mentioned, as per NDTV.
Fadnavis congratulated Ajit Pawar in a put up on X.
बहुमत और संघटन दोनो ही अजितदादा पवार के साथ होने की वजह से चुनाव आयोग ने दिया हुआ निर्णय बहुत ही अपेक्षित है । अजितदादा पवार को इस निर्णय के लिए बधाई। लोकतंत्र की ताकत आज के निर्णय ने दिखाई।#Maharashtra #Nagpur #Democracy #NCP pic.twitter.com/6SKHNspedn
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) February 7, 2024
What next for Sharad Pawar?
The Sharad Pawar camp has mentioned it can strategy the Supreme Court in opposition to the ECI ruling. Sule mentioned the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of Shiv Sena confronted the identical state of affairs. “I think what happened with Shiv Sena is happening to us today. So, this is not a new order. Just the names have been changed, the content is the same. We will fight. We will definitely go to the Supreme Court,” she was quoted as saying by NDTV.
The Baramati MP mentioned Sharad Pawar has the help of the organisation, and, as per the Supreme Court verdict, solely the organisation decides who the celebration belongs to, reported Indian Express.
“Sharad Pawar raised this party from zero at the age of 60, and he can do it again,” she mentioned.
#WATCH | Delhi: On NCP dispute dominated in favour of Ajit Pawar’s faction, Sharad Pawar’s daughter and MP Supriya Sule says, “We already clarified yesterday that we are definitely moving to the Supreme Court and we are very optimistic beacuse we know we are on the right side.” pic.twitter.com/MSAL1NkUdE
— ANI (@ANI) February 7, 2024
Jayant Patil, Maharashtra president of the Sharad Pawar group, mentioned the Election Commission’s ruling was opposite to a Supreme Court order in a associated challenge. “The Supreme Court (in the past) said that even though MLAs shift their loyalty, the party does not follow them. Despite this, the ECI has given a decision based on the elected representatives and their inclination,” he mentioned, as per PTI.
While the Supreme Court battle could possibly be long-drawn, the Sharad Pawar faction’s first activity at hand is to declare a brand new title and symbol for the celebration.
The ECI has advised the senior Pawar-led group to declare a reputation and supply three decisions to the physique. If they fail to file an utility by four pm on 7 February, their MLAs might be thought of independents, reported ThePrint.
As per NDTV sources, the veteran chief is probably going to finalise a reputation for the celebration with the phrase “nationalist” in it. “Spectacles”, “rising sun” and “sunflower” are a few of the choices for the celebration’s new symbol. The “rising sun”, “wheel”, and “tractor” had been another choices being thought of, Indian Express reported.
Sule mentioned they’ll take a call within the matter on Wednesday.
The Sharad Pawar camp additionally faces the problem of constructing individuals, particularly in rural areas, conscious of its new title and symbol with simply months left for Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly polls.
While Sharad Pawar stays a key a part of the Opposition INDIA bloc, his bargaining energy throughout seat-sharing talks might take a success after the ECI ruling, in accordance to NDTV. His camp is predicted to proceed to ally with the Congress and Thackeray-led Shiv Sena (UBT) in Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, the judgement within the disqualification pleas in opposition to MLAs of each NCP factions is earlier than Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar who’s but to announce his verdict. The listening to within the case culminated on 31 January, whereas the ruling is predicted by 15 February.
With inputs from businesses