How Aaditya Thackeray, Devendra Fadnavis reacted to EC ruling on ‘real NCP’

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Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Aaditya Thackeray has hit out at the Election Commission of India’s decision to recognise Ajit Pawar’s faction as the real Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), alleging that the poll body has “proved to be a fraud”.

“When the election commission itself starts to legitimise theft, you know that democracy is doomed. The election commission has now once again proved to be the fraud that it is, Entirely Compromised (EC). They are now showing everyone that we aren’t a free and fair democracy anymore,” Aaditya Thackeray wrote on X (formerly Twitter), tagging NCP founder Sharad Pawar and his daughter Supriya Sule.

The Shiv Sena (UBT), Sharad Pawar’s faction and the Congress are allies in Maharashtra.

The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday declared Maharashtra deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar-led faction as the “real” Nationalist Congress Party. Hailing the decision by the ECI, Ajit Pawar welcomed it “humbly”.

Congratulating Ajit Pawar, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis lauded the decision by the poll body. Claiming that it was an “expected decision”, Fadnavis said he was confident that Ajit Pawar, who is Sharad Pawar’s nephew, would get the name and symbol of the party.

“…If we look at the kind of decisions given by the Election Commission at different times in the last 10-15 years in such matters, then these are similar decisions. We were confident that Ajit Pawar will get it. He has the majority and the organisation is also with him, the majority on both sides seems to be with him, I congratulate Ajit Pawar… In 2019, a mandate was broken, and the public mandate was cheated, but today’s decision has shown the power of democracy,” Fadnavis told the media.

In a major blow to NCP founder Sharad Pawar ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha elections, the ECI in its decision awarded the NCP name and ‘wall clock’ symbol to the Ajit Pawar faction.

“The test of majority in the legislative wing found favour in this circumstance of the case, where both groups have been found to be working outside the party constitution and the organisational elections,” the poll panel observed.

The EC has also provided the Sharad Pawar faction with a one-time option to claim a name for its new political formation and provide three preferences. The concession is to be utilised by 3pm on February 7, it said.