Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has informed the Election Commission of India that he was elected president of the Nationalist Congress Party on June 30, and has submitted a resolution and affidavits from 40 Members of Parliament and state legislators to this effect, sources in the Commission said on Wednesday. Mr. Ajit Pawar has also submitted a petition claiming the party symbol.
The resolution, the affidavits by lawmakers, and the petition claiming the party symbol are all dated June 30, though the Commission received them only on July 5, ECI sources said.
In effect, this means that Mr. Ajit Pawar was chosen as president by his faction, two days before the rebellion spilled out into the public eye on July 2, with the induction of nine NCP leaders — including himself — as Ministers in the Shinde government.
The sources said that NCP leader Jayant Patil filed a caveat with the ECI on July 3, on behalf of the Sharad Pawar faction, urging that they be heard first by the Commission. This was just a day after Mr. Ajit Pawar and eight others joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government.
The ECI also received a letter from Mr. Patil, dated July 3, informing it that disqualification proceedings before the competent authority had been filed against the nine rebel MLAs.
Mr. Ajit Pawar’s petition claiming the party symbol was filed under Paragraph 15 of the Symbols Order of 1968, which gives the ECI exclusive authority to decide on issues regarding the merger or split of a party. The ECI has the power to decide such disputes among rival factions of a recognised political party staking claim to its symbol and name.
ECI sources said that action would be taken by the Commission in accordance with the extant legal framework.