The Election Commission of India (ECI) has recognized the Ajit Pawar-led faction as a real Nationalist Congress Party and granted them NCP’s “clock” symbol ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The poll body’s ruling in favour of the Ajit Pawar-led faction after more than 10 hearings spread over more than six months came as a big blow to the Sharad Pawar faction.
The Election Commission said the ‘test of the legislative majority’ helped the Ajit Pawar faction clinch the NCP symbol in view of disputed internal organisational elections.
It also provided Sharad Pawar with a one-time option to claim a name for its new political formation and provide three preferences to the Commission by 3 pm on February 7.
Ajit Pawar had walked away with a majority of NCP MLAs in July last year and supported the BJP-Shiv Sena government led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in Maharashtra.
AJIT PAWAR FACTION ENJOYED MAJORITY SUPPORT: EC
The Commission examined the affidavits of support filed by both factions and concluded that the group led by Ajit Pawar enjoyed majority support among the legislators.
“In view of the aforesaid findings, 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 poll body said.
The Election Commission said a party becomes a “private fiefdom of a single person or group of select individuals and the party is run like a private enterprise” when democratic elections get replaced by appointments or when the elections are held contrary to the provisions of the Party Constitution or when the elections are held in an opaque or obscure manner without disclosing the notifications, the electoral college, the place of election, etc.