Both NCP factions seek disqualification of the other on defection: Maharashtra Assembly Speaker

Rahul Narwekar said he would have to decide which was the party authorised to issue a Whip

July 05, 2023 10:49 pm | Updated July 06, 2023 07:34 am IST - Mumbai

Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar. File

Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Amid a show of strength between Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders, uncle Sharad Pawar and nephew Ajit Pawar, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar said he had received two petitions from each camp, seeking disqualification of the other on the grounds of defection. He said he also has to decide which party was authorised to issue a Whip.

“I received two disqualification petitions on July 3, one filed by Jayant Patil from Sharad Pawar’s camp and the other by Anil Bhaidas Patil from Ajit Pawar camp,” Mr. Narwekar said.

Jayant Patil, MLA from Islampur in Sangli district, is the Maharashtra president of the NCP. Anil Patil MLA from Amalner in Jalgaon district, is the Chief Whip of the NCP in the Maharashtra Assembly .

Mr. Narwekar said they were both seeking disqualification under paragraph 2 — disqualification on grounds of defection (1)(a) the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India. This provision provides for disqualification of a member if he or she “voluntarily gives up the membership of such a political party”.

“We are still scrutinising the petition and seeing if they comply with all the provisions of the Tenth Schedule (the anti-defection law) and the Maharashtra Members of the Legislative Assembly Disqualification on the grounds of Defection Rules, 1986. After deciding on these petitions, we will begin the process of finding out who is the political party, who will be authorised to issue the Whip,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ajit Pawar’s faction moved the Election Commission of India (EC) on Wednesday, claiming the party’s symbol and 40 affidavits in his support from Members of Parliament and legislators of his camp. However, Sharad Pawar’s group has filed a caveat urging the Commission to hear them first.

On May 11, the Supreme Court, on deciding petitions by Shiv Sena leaders Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde, had said it could not adjudicate petitions for disqualification by MLAs under the Tenth Schedule. The apex court had said the Speaker shall recognise the Whip and the leader duly authorised by the Shiv Sena. This judgment widened the scope of the Speaker by directing him or her to decide who was the political party. Therefore, the Speaker will have to decide independently and is not bound by the decision of the EC.

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