The Election Commission settled the NCP symbol disagreement in Ajit Pawar’s favor after considering the test of legislative majority. After conducting over 10 hearings spanning six months and engaging high-profile legal teams from both sides, the EC decided to grant the NCP name and its distinctive “alarm clock” symbol to Pawar’s faction based on the test of legislative majority.
The Election Commission resolved the dispute over the National Congress Party (NCP) symbol on Tuesday, favoring Ajit Pawar’s faction, nearly eight months after his departure from the Sharad Pawar camp to join the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition in Maharashtra, along with eight NCP MLAs.
Ajit Pawar, Maharashtra’s deputy CM, expressed gratitude for the Election Commission’s decision, highlighting that their legal arguments were heard and acknowledged.
Regarding the tests of maintainability, such as evaluating the party constitution’s aims and objectives, organizational structure, and majority, both factions were found to be operating outside the party constitution and organizational framework. The EC noted discrepancies in the timelines claimed by the Sharad Pawar group regarding their organizational majority, deeming their claim unreliable.
However, in consideration of the impending elections to six Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra, the EC extended a special concession to the Sharad Pawar group. They were granted the opportunity to propose a name for their new political formation and submit three preferences to the EC by 3 pm on February 7, ensuring compliance with Rule 39AA of the Conduct of Elections Rules 1961.
The EC emphasized the importance of transparency in organizational elections and internal party democracy, urging political parties to adopt good disclosure practices.
Anil Deshmukh, a prominent figure in Maharashtra, criticized the EC’s decision as an attack on democracy, while Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Priyanka Chaturvedi expressed concerns over the alliance between Ajit Pawar and the BJP, stating it goes against constitutional principles and reflects growing authoritarianism.