Bombay High Court Issues Notice to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker and NCP MLAs Over Factional Disqualification Dispute

The dispute stems from the Speaker's ruling that recognized the Ajit Pawar faction as the legitimate NCP.

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In a significant development concerning the ongoing factional dispute within the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Bombay High Court issued notices to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar and 10 MLAs from the Sharad Pawar faction. This action follows pleas filed by the Ajit Pawar faction challenging the Speaker’s decision not to disqualify them.

The division bench, comprising Justice GS Kulkarni and Justice Firdosh Pooniwalla, also directed the Maharashtra legislature secretariat to respond to the petitions, requesting all respondents to file their affidavits.

The dispute stems from the Speaker’s ruling that recognized the Ajit Pawar faction as the legitimate NCP. Anil Patil, chief whip of the Ajit Pawar faction, contested this decision, seeking the High Court’s intervention to nullify the Speaker’s order and disqualify the 10 legislators aligned with the Sharad Pawar faction.

Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, representing Patil, argued before the High Court that while the Speaker’s findings favored the Ajit Pawar faction, he failed to disqualify MLAs from the Sharad Pawar camp who allegedly acted against the party’s interests.

The High Court, after briefly hearing the submissions, scheduled further proceedings for March 14.

This legal battle is part of a broader conflict between Sharad Pawar and his nephew Ajit Pawar, who joined the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government in July 2023. The Election Commission of India previously recognized the Ajit Pawar faction as the authentic NCP, granting them the party’s ‘clock’ symbol. However, the Supreme Court’s recent directive ordered the faction led by Sharad Pawar to use the new name ‘Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar’ until further notice and instructed the ECI to allocate a symbol within seven days if requested.

As the courtroom drama unfolds, the fate of these NCP factions hangs in the balance, with legal and political implications reverberating through Maharashtra’s political landscape.

Also Read: Congress and Samajwadi Party Reach Seat-Sharing Pact Ahead of Lok Sabha Elections

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