EC allots new name to Sharad Pawar's NCP faction


Following the Election Commission’s declaration recognizing Ajit Pawar-led NCP as the legitimate faction, the commission has designated ‘Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar’ as the official name for the party led by Sharad Pawar. In its official statement, the ECI revealed that Sharad Pawar’s party had proposed three names: Nationalist Congress Party – Sharadchandra Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party – Sharadrao Pawar, and NCP – Sharad Pawar.

Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar (R).
Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar

Election Commision of India on Wednesday allotted ‘Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar’ as the official name for faction led by Sharad Pawar for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. The faction had also sought ‘banyan tree’ as the election symbol for itself.

On Tuesday, ECI declared the Ajit Pawar faction as the authentic NCP leading to a significant blow to party founder Sharad Pawar. Additionally, the poll panel assigned the NCP symbol ‘clock’ to Ajit Pawar’s group. ECI had given time to Senior Pawar’s faction with a one-time option to claim a name to its new political formation and provide three preferences to the Commission. The concession is to be utilised by February 7, 2024.

“The ECI has given an interim arrangement for us to be recognised as the Nationalist Congress Party – Sharadchandra Pawar. We shall be approaching the relevant forum to seek complete justice nevertheless,” said Sharad Pawar’s NCP in a post on X.

ECI in its official statement said faction led by Sharad Pawar submitted three names for consideration: Nationalist Congress Party- Sharadchandra Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party- Sharadrao Pawar, and NCP- Sharad Pawar.

How did Senior Pawar lose EC test?

The commission held 10 hearings with both the factions since July 1, 2023 after Ajit Pawar led a split in NCP.

To determine the symbol and name dispute, the commission used three traditional ways, such as tests of aims and objectives of party constitution, test of party constitution and test of majority – both organisational and legislative.

In the first, there was no dispute and in the second case, none of the factions were found to be following the party constitution by the EC. Thus, EC was left with no options but to try out the third method.

Accordingly, the test of majority was applied. However, the Sharad Pawar faction was unable to establish its organisational majority due to “absence of any coherent or substantial document” brought on record by them, said the EC.

The EC order said that 81 MPs, MLAs and MLCs belonging to NCP, 57 had filed affidavits declaring support for Ajit and only 28 for Sharad. Five MLAs and one LS MP filed affidavits in support of both factions.

Despite losing out to his nephew Ajit, in view of the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls where six seats from Maharashtra are up for voting, Sharad Pawar faction will be able to contest in compliance with Rule 39AA of Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961.

Earlier on July 2, 2023, Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar joined the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government as deputy CM along with eight other NCP legislators as cabinet ministers, leading to a major split in NCP.

The Ajit Pawar faction had also staked claim to the party symbol, informing the Election Commission (EC) that he was elected NCP chief through a resolution dated June 30, 2023 signed by an “overwhelming majority” of members of the party, both from the legislative and

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William Murphy

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