Sharad Pawar seeks urgent SC hearing over loss of NCP name, symbol | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Sharad Pawar seeks urgent SC hearing over loss of NCP name, symbol

Feb 16, 2024 01:07 PM IST

Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud said he would look into the request and assign a date after senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned the matter

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) founder Sharad Pawar on Friday requested the Supreme Court to urgently hear his petition challenging the Election Commission of India (ECI)’s order giving the party name and symbol to the rival Ajit Pawar-led faction.

NCP founder Sharad Pawar. (ANI)
NCP founder Sharad Pawar. (ANI)

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud said he would look into the request and assign a date after senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi mentioned the matter and urged the court to preferably hear the case on Monday.

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“This is a matter of extreme urgency...because of the Election Commission’s order, Sharad Pawar will be subject to the whip of Ajit Pawar. The session in Maharashtra assembly is slated to begin next week and we have not been given any symbol,” Singhvi said.

The hearing was sought a day after Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar ruled that deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar’s faction was the real NCP. Narwekar turned down demands to disqualify either faction’s lawmakers.

Narwekar cited the test of the legislative majority while deciding in favour of Ajit Pawar after the other two grounds — party constitution and leadership structure — were found to be inconclusive.

Narwekar’s decision came weeks after the ECI ruled in Ajit Pawar’s favour. The senior Pawar filed an appeal on February 12 against the ECI’s order based on numerical strength in the legislature.

The ECI allowed Sharad Pawar’s faction to be called the Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar for the purpose of voting for the February 27 Rajya Sabha election.

The Ajit Pawar faction has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court through advocate Abhikalp Pratap Singh to ensure that no order is passed without hearing them.

Chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar-led three-member ECI said the faction led by Ajit Pawar is the NCP and entitled to use its name and clock symbol. The ECI relied on the “Test of Majority” to arrive at this conclusion.

The Sharad Pawar faction presented the constitution and organisational set-up of the party to claim the majority. But the ECI went by the affidavits of support submitted by party lawmakers to rule that the Ajit Pawar faction enjoyed a considerable majority in the legislative wing.

Out of the 81 members of parliament and assembly, 57 filed affidavits in support of Ajit Pawar and 28 in favour of Sharad Pawar. Six affidavits supported both factions. The ECI said still the Ajit Pawar faction had the support of 51 legislators.

The ECI discarded the evidence Sharad Pawar produced saying the constitution of both the NCP working committee and national committee were “shrouded with doubts” due to the disputed organisational elections held in 2022. In his appeal, Sharad Pawar questioned the basis on which the ECI arrived at its final decision.

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