Editorial: NCP goes to Ajit Pawar, Sharad to Supreme Court

Editorial: NCP goes to Ajit Pawar, Sharad to Supreme Court

FPJ EditorialUpdated: Wednesday, February 07, 2024, 11:09 PM IST
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Sharad Pawar/Ajit Pawar | PTI

Sharad Pawar has lost the fight for the name and election symbol of the Nationalist Congress Party to his nephew and Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ajit Pawar. The Election Commission pronounced its verdict on Tuesday after it had heard lawyers of the two sides over the last six months. Going by the Supreme Court-prescribed criterion, the EC found that the Ajit faction was the real NCP owing to its superior numbers in the legislative wing. The other two determinants for judging the “real party” were unavailable in the case, because the Pawar faction could never vet its claim of majority in the organisational wing, nor could it establish that it alone adhered to the party’s ideology. The EC stamp on his faction as the real NCP would come as a shot in the arm for Ajit Pawar who can now be relied upon to double down in his efforts to get the better of his uncle in the coming Rajya Sabha poll from Maharashtra and later in the Lok Sabha election. Predictably, the Sharad Pawar faction has threatened to challenge the EC decision in the Supreme Court. Supriya Sule, Sharad Pawar’s daughter and Lok Sabha MP, saw the verdict as “a conspiracy against Maharashtra”. The dubious attempt to turn the personal setback into a wider State-level political plot is clearly meant to hoodwink the people of Maharashtra, for the Ajit faction, now the real NCP post-EC order, is as much Maharashtrian in character and content as is the Shard Pawar faction. A pure and simple succession battle between the first cousins for the control of the NCP cannot be elevated to a battle for or against Maharashtra. The same ploy was used by the Uddhav faction of the Shiv Sena upon its losing the battle for the name and symbol of the original Sena to the faction of the Chief Minister and leader of the Shiv Sena, Eknath Shinde. Curiously, the Sharad Pawar faction argued before the EC that the MPs, MLAs, and MLAs, be given different weightage since it enjoyed a thin superiority among NCP MPs. The EC rejected the argument. The Commission was unwilling to make an exception in this case since all along in such cases of split in the parties it had always treated each MP or MLA as a single unit. Differentiated values for MPs and MLAs were not prescribed in the past splits. After winning the `test of numbers’ in the EC, Ajit Pawar and uncle Sharad Pawar will now face the test of numbers in the Rajya Sabha polls later this month and a few weeks down the line would square off in the Lok Sabha poll. One thing is clear. Sharad Pawar forced the split in the NCP when he nominated daughter as his political legatee unmindful of the ambition, and contribution, of his nephew who had worked hard at the ground level to grow the NCP as a viable force in Maharashtra. Daughter-love seems to have cost Sharad Pawar his party.

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