In February, in connection with Shiv Sena’s internal war, NCP leader questioned Election Commission’s decision to allot party name and symbol merely on grounds of support of majority MLAs, MPs; Ajit Pawar finds himself in same predicament today
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar address a press conference at Sahyadri Guest House on August 22. Pic/Ashish Raje
Will Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s earlier public utterances come back to haunt him during his acid test in front of the Election Commission (EC) next week? The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader’s statements questioning the decision of the Election Commission (EC) to allot a party’s name and symbol merely because someone has the support of the majority of MLAs and MPs is likely to make things more difficult for him and his faction.
On October 6, the EC will conduct a hearing in connection with the split in the NCP—with one faction led by veteran leader Sharad Pawar and the other by Ajit, his nephew, which moved the poll panel staking claim over the party name and symbol.
In February, while hearing a petition on the Shiv Sena name and symbol, the EC allotted both to the Eknath Shinde camp on the ground that the majority of the Shiv Sena MLAs and a few MPs were supporting that faction. A few later, defending former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the then-leader of the Opposition in the state legislative Assembly, Ajit Pawar questioned the EC’s decision. “One cannot make a claim on the party and symbol merely on the basis of support from the majority of MLAs and few MPs,” he had said.
Sunil Tatkare, state president, NCP
In fact, the rebel had even cited the example of the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
“MNS has only one MLA. Tomorrow, if that single MLA moves to some other camp, that doesn’t mean one can stake a claim on the party and engine (symbol)”
Ironically, the Ajit-led faction is now staking claim on his party and symbol on the ground that it has the backing of most NCP MLAs and MPs.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar at YB Chavan Centre on July 17. Pic/Ashish Raje
Leaving no stone unturned to strengthen their case before the EC, the Sharad Pawar-led camp is collating old statements made by the deputy chief minister and his camp.
“We will exhibit all this information before the EC on the day of the hearing,” said a leader from the Pawar Sr faction on the condition of anonymity.
‘Political statements keep changing with politics’
The Ajit Pawar-led camp, meanwhile, is confident about getting the NCP name and symbol.
Veteran NCP leader and party state president Sunil Tatkare stated that one should not read too much into the earlier statements. “As circumstances change, political statements, too, keep changing,” he said.
Asked what if the Sharad Pawar-led NCP faction brings these statements to the attention of the EC during the hearing, the Raigad strongman said, “We have complete faith in the system. The EC will take appropriate decisions as per the provision of the law and based on the NCP’s draft constitution.”
Day EC will conduct hearing on split in NCP