"In A Democracy...": Ajit Pawar Reacts To Election Commission's Ruling

Ajit Pawar's reaction came shortly after the poll panel announced that his faction is the real Nationalist Congress Party.

'In A Democracy...': Ajit Pawar Reacts To Election Commission's Ruling

The Commission also allotted the NCP symbol 'wall clock' to the group led by Ajit Pawar


Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Ajit Pawar on Tuesday said the ECI ruling underlined the priority assigned to the majority in democracy, whereas MP Supriya Sule termed the decision as a victory of "invisible power" and conspiracy against the people of the state.

The Sharad Pawar camp described the ruling as a "murder of democracy" which would be challenged in the Supreme Court.

In a setback to Sharad Pawar, the Election Commission recognised the faction led by his nephew Ajit Pawar as the real Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and also allotted the party's poll symbol 'Clock' to the Ajit Pawar group.

"In a democracy, priority is given to the majority which is why the poll commission has allotted the party name and symbol to us," Ajit Pawar said.

He said 50 MLAs are with us (NCP) besides most of the district presidents in the state and chiefs of the party cells (frontal organisations).

Senior NCP leader Praful Patel said the EC ruling proves that the majority of party workers and elected representatives are with Ajit Pawar.

Sharad Pawar's daughter and NCP MP Supriya Sule said the ECI ruling is the victory of the invisible power.

"This is a huge conspiracy against Maharashtra and Marathi people. However, I am not at all surprised by this decision," she said.

Sule said Sharad Pawar is currently busy in a get-together with some Rajya Sabha members who are retiring.

"BJP leader Prakash Javdekar, who is also retiring, has come to our place. My father is busy with them. I can not tell you everything now. The new names and symbol as asked by the ECI will be submitted tomorrow and then you will come to know about it," she told reporters in New Delhi.

Sule also said Sharad Pawar had contested elections on five different symbols in his political career when there was no social media.

"With the help of this media, we can easily communicate our new name and new symbol to the entire world within a second," she said without elaborating.

Both parties (the NCP and undivided Shiv Sena) were born in Maharashtra and led by Marathi people. This is one more example of how the invisible powers make decisions that would hurt the Marathi people and the state, Sule added.

Sharad Pawar loyalist and former state minister Anil Deshmukh dubbed the decision a "murder of democracy".

"What happened is unfortunate. The poll panel gave this ruling under pressure from above," Deshmukh told a TV channel.

He referred to the strictures passed by the Supreme Court in the Chandigarh mayoral election.

Maharashtra NCP president (Sharad Pawar group) Jayant Patil said the Supreme Court is the "last hope" for them and they are expecting a stay on the ECI ruling.

He said the NCP was founded by Sharad Pawar who developed it from the grassroots and also helped many leaders grow in their political careers.

Another Sharad Pawar loyalist and former minister Jitendra Awhad said, "Sharad Pawar is our party and the symbol that enjoys the backing of people".

Awhad said Sharad Pawar will rise as a proverbial phoenix bird.

"The ECI exercise was a circus. It was pre-decided who would get the NCP name and symbol," he alleged.

Targeting Ajit Pawar and other MLAs who sided with him, Awhad said he felt sad as those who enjoyed the fruits of Sharad Pawar's efforts to expand the NCP are now trying to "politically strangle" the veteran.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy from BJP, Devendra Fadnavis, welcomed the poll body's decision.

"The Election Commission has given the verdict based on merit and majority. The majority has an important role in democracy. The ECI has taken a similar decision during our case as well," said Shinde, who heads Shiv Sena.

He said the Shiv Sena, BJP, and NCP led by Ajit Pawar will win more than 45 LS seats in Maharashtra and the assembly elections as well.

" I congratulate the member party of Mahayuti, Ajit Pawar, and his colleagues over the election commission of India's Decision to allot the NCP party name and clock symbol with him (sic)," Fadnavis posted on X handle.

When asked whether Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar would benefit from sympathy and emotional appeal in upcoming elections, Shinde said, "People vote for those who undertake developmental works. Maharashtra ranks top in infrastructure development. PM Modi and the Centre are firmly standing behind the state government".

In Pune and Baramati, the pocket borough of the Pawars, supporters of Ajit Pawar broke into celebrations by bursting firecrackers and distributing sweets.

"The common people of Baramati feel that since the decision has been made about the party and symbol, all should forget the old things and work together as a party," a local leader said.

Ankush Kakade, a senior NCP leader from Pune and Sharad Pawar supporter said we will work towards taking the new name and party symbol to every household.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)