In a special concession to the Sharad Pawar group, the EC granted it a one-time option to claim a name for its new political formation and send three preferences to the EC by 3 pm on February 7, given the impending elections for six Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra Image Courtesy PTI
Almost eight months after Ajit Pawar left the Sharad Pawar camp to join the Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra with eight NCP MLAs, the Election Commission ruled on Tuesday in favor of Pawar in the NCP symbol issue.
Ajit Pawar, the deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, declared: “The Election Commission has decided in our favor after hearing our attorneys’ arguments. We respectfully accept this.”
However, in a special concession to the Sharad Pawar group, the EC granted it a one-time option to claim a name for its new political formation and send three preferences to the EC by 3 pm on February 7, given the impending elections for six Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra, for which the notification is to be issued on February 8, 2024. By doing this, the Pawar side will be able to abide by Rule 39AA of the Conduct of Elections Rules 1961, which permits approved political party agents to confirm the voter’s party affiliation.
In the Rajya Sabha election case, the implications of Paragraph 15 of the Symbols order—that is, the ruling as established in the case of the merger of the Indian Congress (Socialist) and Nationalist Congress Party (ECI order of August 4, 1999)—were invoked.
In the meantime, the Commission gave all political parties advice on appropriate disclosure procedures for internal party democracy and organizational elections.
Slamming EC’s decision, Maharashtra leader Anil Deshmukh said: “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.”
Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said: “I am not surprised at all. A man who was charged of corruption of worth Rs 70,000 crore … 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.”
(With agency inputs)