Ajit Pawar Faction Is 'Real' NCP, Rules Maharashtra Assembly Speaker In Another Setback For Sharad Pawar

Ajit Pawar Faction Is 'Real' NCP, Rules Maharashtra Assembly Speaker In Another Setback For Sharad Pawar

He also rejected petitions filed by both the Sharad Pawar faction and the one led by Ajit Pawar to disqualify MLAs of each other party.

Kalpesh MhamunkarUpdated: Thursday, February 15, 2024, 09:49 PM IST
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Ajit Pawar | X

Mumbai, February 15: Senior leader Sharad Pawar suffered a severe blow on Thursday with the legislative assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar holding the faction led by Ajit Pawar to be the real NCP party. He also rejected petitions filed by both the Sharad Pawar faction and the one led by Ajit Pawar to disqualify MLAs of each other party. Mr Narwekar held that if there is dissent in the party then action can be taken against them as per their party's constitution but there is no need to use the 10th schedule of the Constitution to disqualify the MLAs concerned. The 10th schedule deals with defections by elected representatives.  The Election Commission of India (ECI) had already declared the NCP led by Pawar Jr to be the real NCP and allotted the election symbol "Clock" to it.

While deciding the ownership of the party Mr Narwekar has applied the same criteria which he had applied to decide the earlier petition of the Shiv Sena. He has held that out of 53 NCP MLAs 41 MLAs have supported Ajit Pawar faction and they have the majority in the Vidhan sabha. The Sharad Pawar faction has not taken this factor into consideration in its petition.

Mr Narwekar considered three factors while giving the order. One is the  Constitution of the NCP, Constitution of India and third is majority support   in the Vidhan Sabha.  He observed  that the selection of Sharad Pawar was unconstitutional. Till the June 29, 2023 Sharad Pawar was the only party chief but on June 30 two people (Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar) claimed they are the party president. However, no documents were submitted by both the factions to the Speaker's office to prove that the party presidents were elected through a democratic process.

Don't Misuse 10th Schedule, Narwekar To Pawar Camp

Mr Narwekar also clearly stated in his order that the Sharad Pawar faction should not misuse 10th schedule of the Constitution to threaten MLAs who have dissented with the party leadership. The 10th schedule doesn't apply in these petition because it is internal dispute of the NCP Party.

Later speaking to media persons Mr Narwekar said: "I have given the order as per Supreme Court guidelines and the Constitution of India. The order is neither  unconstitutional or arbitrary. It is a  well reasoned order."

Speaker Responds To Criticism:

Asked about criticism of his order, Mr Narwekar replied: "I will not comment on the comments made by Sanjay Raut, Aaditya Thackeray and Jitendra Awhad as they are constitutional experts." He further said: "The people who don't know Constitution can only level hollow allegations against me. Dissent within a party and decision  to defect are two different things. This is a land mark judgement."

Ex-minister Jayant Patil of the Sharad Pawar faction said, "After Covid 19 period we had conducted election in the party in  2022. The order ought not have been  given outside the frame work of the party constitution. By not disqualifying any member,  Mr Narwekar has chosen the middle path, so that  aggrieved members may  not rush to the  SC and ask for an urgent hearing. But, we will challenge today's order before the  SC."

Mr Patil insisted that an election was indeed held to make Sharad Pawar the party president. If Ajit Pawar was the party president then he should have called a meeting of members and should have informed them about his decision to support the BJP-led government in the state. Instead he had only taken the signatures of MLAs and submitted the list to the Speaker."

Supriya Sule, M.P. and daughter of Sharad Pawar said: "Mr Narwekar has only  copy pasted his earlier order on the  Shivsena disqualification petition. We had no hopes from him. I personally was not expecting any justice from him." Jeetendra Awhad, ex-minister and a staunch of Pawar Sr  said " Why do you waste our time and money if you don't have powers to see internal dispute in the party?."  Aaditya Thackeray of the Shiv Sena (UBT) said: "Thieves have been made owners of the party, instead of giving them punishment."

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