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Sharad Pawar challenges Ajit Pawar faction's compliance in NCP symbol dispute

Sharad Pawar challenges Ajit Pawar faction's compliance in NCP symbol dispute

In the ongoing legal battle within Maharashtra's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), veteran politician Sharad Pawar has moved the Supreme Court alleging non-compliance by the Ajit Pawar faction with a previous court order. The dispute revolves around the rightful ownership of the NCP's symbol, the clock, and its usage in the upcoming elections.

The Ajit Pawar faction, which currently supports the ruling Eknath Shinde government in Maharashtra, has been at odds with the Sharad Pawar-led faction since the party split in July 2023. The split resulted in a contentious issue: determining which faction constitutes the real NCP.

The matter was escalated to the Election Commission of India (ECI), which, after reviewing affidavits submitted by both factions, sided with Ajit Pawar, citing his faction's majority support among NCP MLAs in the Maharashtra State Assembly.

However, Sharad Pawar contested this decision, taking the matter to the Supreme Court. On March 19, the apex court granted provisional permission for the Ajit Pawar faction to use the NCP's clock symbol for the upcoming parliamentary and state elections. 

However, this permission came with a crucial condition – the faction was required to include a disclaimer in all advertisements, public notices, and media content, explicitly stating that the allocation of the symbol was subject to the Supreme Court's final decision on the matter.

Despite this directive, Sharad Pawar has now raised concerns about the Ajit Pawar faction's failure to comply with the court's order. Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Sharad Pawar, highlighted this non-compliance before a bench of Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan.

Singhvi emphasized the urgency of the matter, especially with elections fast approaching. He expressed concern that allowing changes to the order mid-election would create confusion and potentially influence voters unfairly.

On the other hand, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Ajit Pawar, argued for a modification to the court's previous directive, stating that the Supreme Court had not conclusively decided the matter. However, the bench dismissed Rohatgi's request for modification, asserting that the original order must remain in force until the conclusion of the polls.

The Supreme Court has now demanded details of advertisements issued by the Ajit Pawar faction thus far and has stated that it will subsequently decide on the listing of Sharad Pawar's plea.

 

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