Highlights

  • Election Commission hears 'NCP vs NCP' case
  • Sharad, Ajit Pawar attend the hearing
  • Ajit claims support of 42 out of 53 Maharashtra MLAs

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Ajit Pawar tells EC he has support of 42 out of 53 NCP MLAs

Ajit Pawar has told the Election Commission that he has the support of 42 of the 53 MLAs in Maharashtra

Ajit Pawar tells EC he has support of 42 out of 53 NCP MLAs

The Election Commission on Friday met the warring factions of the NCP led by Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar over their claims to the party name and poll symbol.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) founder Sharad Pawar was present at the personal hearing of the rival factions called by the Election Commission, which decided to continue the proceedings on October 9.

Ajit Pawar, who had moved the Election Commission staking claim to the party name and poll symbol, submitted that he had the support of 42 of the 53 MLAs in Maharashtra, six of the nine MLCs, all seven MLAs in Nagaland and one member each in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha.

At the hearing, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared before the poll panel on behalf of Sharad Pawar. Senior advocates N K Kaul and Maninder Singh were present on behalf of Ajit Pawar.

The faction led by Ajit Pawar had rebelled against NCP leader Sharad Pawar and moved the poll panel staking claim to the party name and symbol.

"Under the circumstances, the petitioner submits that he enjoys overwhelming support in the Organisational Wing as well as Legislative Wing of the NCP and therefore the present petition may be allowed by the Hon'ble Commission by recognising the faction led by the petitioner to be the real Political Party," Ajit Pawar said in his submission to the Election Commission.

The Ajit Pawar faction submitted its arguments in support of its claim before the poll panel on Friday.

The arguments of the Ajit Pawar faction are expected to continue on Monday.

Senior NCP leader Jitendra Awhad accused the Ajit Pawar faction of being “ungrateful” and “rude” towards NCP founder Sharad Pawar during the hearing at the Election Commission.

Awhad, who was present at the hearing along with Sharad Pawar, said the lawyers of the opposing faction claimed that Sharad Pawar never followed democratic principles in the functioning of the NCP and always “behaved as a dictator”.

"It is sad that a person who nurtured them and ensured their growth has to face such things. It is unfortunate that a person who enjoyed power for more than 18 years has to direct his lawyers to make such remarks about Sharad Pawar,” Awhad, the Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, said.

Talking to reporters after the hearing, Sharad Pawar's lawyer Singhvi said the claims made by Ajit Pawar were imaginary.

The hearing went on for an hour. In the first part of the hearing, the Sharad Pawar camp raised preliminary objections where it said the EC is obliged to determine as a threshold issue whether there is a dispute or not, Singhvi said.

"Your jurisdiction depends whether there is a dispute or not," he said, citing his stand before the poll panel "The Commission heard us but said it will not decide at this stage. That application we have liberty, that rejection we can challenge in a court if we wish. That decision we will take collectively later," the senior advocate said.

He said the argument of the Ajit Pawar camp before the EC was "interesting, quite amazing and according to me non-existent in law".

"They don't want the organisational test. They know 99 per cent of the majority of the NCP cadre is with the man standing next to me (Sharad Pawar)," he said.

Two days before rebelling against Uncle Sharad Pawar to join the Maharashtra government in early July, Ajit Pawar had approached the EC on June 30 staking claim to the party name as well as symbol and subsequently also declared himself as the party president with the support of 40 lawmakers.

Recently, the Sharad Pawar-led faction had told the EC that there was no dispute in the party, except that a few mischievous individuals have defected from the organisation for their personal ambitions, a reference to the rebel group headed by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

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