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NCP will not use name, picture of Sharad Pawar on banner or poster: Ajit Pawar assures SC

Ajit Pawar had spllit the NCP in July last year and walked away with a majority of MLAs to join the BJP-Shiv Sena government led by Eknath Shinde

PTI New Delhi Published 19.03.24, 08:29 PM
Ajit Pawar.

Ajit Pawar. File picture.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by him will not use the name or picture of party founder Sharad Pawar on banners, posters or any election material.

Ajit Pawar had spllit the NCP in July last year and walked away with a majority of MLAs to join the BJP-Shiv Sena government led by Eknath Shinde.


He furnished an undertaking before a bench of Justices Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan pursuant to a March 14 order by the apex court.

"The Respondent has duly instructed the rank and file of the party to refrain from using the photographs or name of Sharad Pawar on any poster/banner of Nationalist Congress Party," the undertaking said.

Filed through advocate Abhikalp Pratap Singh, it added, "The respondent further states that there will be no usage of name or picture of Sharad Pawar on any banner, poster or any election material published etc. on behalf of the Nationalist Congress Party." The deputy chief minister said the members of his party have been duly apprised of the judgement of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the result/outcome thereof and a communication/notice has been issued by Sunil Tatkare, the state NCP chief.

The bench, after perusing Tatkare's letter, directed that a similar notice be issued with regard to other states as well.

The undertaking referred to the application filed by Sharad Pawar seeking to restrain the Ajit Pawar faction from using the 'clock' symbol claiming that several MLAs of Maharashtra deputy CM-led bloc were using his picture on posters and banners. Ajit Pawar said MLA Nilesh Lanke, who is being shown in the application using pictures of Sharad Pawar, has joined the camp led by the party founder.

"In fact, the petitioner is guilty of "suppressio veri, suggestio falsi" (suppression of truth or suggestion of an untruth) and has tried to mislead this court as if the said MLA is showing allegiance to the NCP led by Ajit Pawar but misutilizing the photographs of Sharad Pawar," the document said.

Ajit Pawar told the top court that he intends to seek Lanke's disqualification under the tenth schedule of the Constitution and claimed, "In fact, the boot is on the other leg. The said MLA is guilty of using the symbol of the respondent, namely the 'Clock', as if the symbol is associated with Sharad Pawar with whom he has joined hands." In a separate affidavit filed in the application, Ajit Pawar asserted the prayer made by Sharad Pawar is also "patently mischievous" inasmuch as he wants to use the name "Nationalist Congress Party – Sharad Chandra Pawar" and at the same time seeks to restrain the answering respondent (Ajit Pawar) from using the name Nationalist Congress Party and the 'Clock' symbol.

"The petitioner therefore wants to defeat the entire judgement of the ECI by an Interim Application," it said.

On March 14, observing that the name and photographs of Sharad Pawar cannot be used by the Ajit Pawar faction for political gains, the top court had sought a response from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) faction led by the Maharashtra deputy chief minister on a plea of the octogenarian Maratha leader alleging misuse of his popularity by the rival camp.

It had taken note of the submissions of senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, appearing for Sharad Pawar, that the faction-led by his nephew Ajit Pawar was "riding piggyback on his good will" and the Maratha stalwart did not need "left handed compliments" from rivals.

"Once you (Ajit Pawar faction) have chosen to go separate ways, then you use your own identity only," the top court had said while seeking a categorical and unconditional undertaking that the name and pictures of Sharad Pawar will not be used by the rival camp. Pawar senior had founded the NCP with former Lok Sabha speaker Purno Sangma and Tariq Anwar in 1999 after their expulsion from the Congress.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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