Maharashtra: NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar Demands Cancellation Of Praful Patel's Rajya Sabha Membership

Maharashtra: NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar Demands Cancellation Of Praful Patel's Rajya Sabha Membership

What has shocked political circles is that Patel was personally close to Pawar.

S BalakrishnanUpdated: Wednesday, November 22, 2023, 09:52 PM IST
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Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel | FPJ

In a surprise development on Wednesday, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction led by Sharad Pawar demanded the cancellation of Praful Patel’s membership of the Rajya Sabha.

NCP (Sharad Pawar) MPs, Supriya Sule, the daughter of Sharad Pawar, and Vandana Chavan called on Vice-President and Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Jagdeep Dhankar, in New Delhi and urged him to cancel Patel’s membership. Chavan had earlier written a letter to Dhankar in this regard.

What has shocked political circles is that Patel was personally close to Pawar. In fact, many were surprised when Patel joined the Ajit Pawar camp of the NCP, which tied up with the BJP to be a part of the coalition government in Maharashtra. The suave Patel, who is a billionaire businessman, was widely regarded as a confidant of Pawar, Sr, who was privy to the latter’s political and financial decisions. In fact, it was Pawar, Sr, who mentored Patel from his progress from being the president of the Gondia Municipal Council to the Union civil aviation minister.

Even when Patel was embroiled in a major controversy over the handing over of Air India’s prime routes to private airlines and purchase of a huge number of aircraft for the then government-owned airline, Pawar stood by him. However, Patel is in a very vulnerable position following an alleged money laundering case filed against him by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

On July 21, 2022, the ED had attached four floors of Ceejay House, an office complex on Dr Annie Besant Road, Worli, in connection with a case involving late gangster and drug lord Iqbal Mirchi, who was a close aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

Patel did not respond to calls from The Free Press Journal. It is learnt that the disqualification is being sought on ground of “defection”.

What does the Constitution say?

The Constitution (52ndAmendment) Act, 1985, had added a new Schedule (Tenth Schedule) to the Constitution setting out certain provisions as to disqualification on ground of defection. Under this Schedule, a member can be disqualified if he voluntarily gives up his membership of the political party by which he was set up as a candidate for election.

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