Sharad Pawar camp questions premise of dispute in NCP

Sharad Pawar camp questions premise of dispute in NCP

New Delhi, Nov 24 (PTI) The Sharad Pawar faction on Friday questioned before the Election Commission the very premise of dispute in the NCP, claiming those who were part of conducting organisational polls in the party in 2018 cannot claim in 2023 that those elections were flawed.

Sharad Pawar faction's counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi said between 1999 and 2018, there were no allegations that Sharad Pawar was not the leader of the party or that the elections were faulty.

'It is for the first time in 2023 that an allegation was levelled that the polls held in 2018 and subsequently at the lower level were flawed and so was the national convention,' he told reporters as the hearing continued at the EC on Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar's claim on party name and symbol.

He said his arguments will continue at the next hearing.

He said those levelling allegations include Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel when it was Patel himself who had issued the notice under his sign calling the national convention.

He said documents submitted with the EC from time to time show that Ajit Pawar had said that Sharad Pawar is the leader of the party and they had requested him to contest the election with no other party leader pitted against him.

'Then suddenly, on June 30, 2023, the issue of a split in the party can come up ... there was no pre-existing dispute...the EC cannot initiate action under Para 15 of the elections symbols order,' he said.

He asserted that documents, including affidavits filed before the EC show no pre-existing dispute when the petition was filed by the Ajit Pawar faction on June 30 this year.

Two days before rebelling against his uncle Sharad Pawar to join the Maharashtra government in early July, Ajit Pawar had approached the Election Commission on June 30 staking claim to the party name as well as the symbol and subsequently declared himself as the party president with the support of 40 lawmakers.

In such matters, the poll panel works as a quasi-judicial body and the case is heard by the chief election commissioner and fellow election commissioners. PTI NAB NAB RT RT

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