The Hindu (Mumbai)

EC ‘snatched’ NCP from hands of its founders: Sharad

Senior leader says he is confident people will not support EC ruling against which his faction of NCP has moved SC; ‘BJP leaders spared ED action’

- Press Trust of India

Senior politician Sharad Pawar on Sunday said the Election Commission’s decision to allot the NCP name and symbol to Ajit Pawarled group was “surprising” as the poll body has “snatched” the party from the hands of its founders and gave it to others. He also said the programme and ideology are important for the people while a symbol is useful for a limited period.

In a setback to Sharad Pawar, the Election Commission on February 6 recognised the Ajit Pawar faction as the real Nationalis­t Congress Party (NCP) and also allotted the party symbol ‘clock’ to the group led by him.

“I am confident that people will not support the Election Commission ruling against which we have approached the Supreme Court,” Mr. Pawar told reporters in Pune.

“The EC snatched the party from the hands of those who founded and built it and gave it to others; such a thing never happened before in the country,” said Mr. Pawar, who founded the NCP in 1999 after breaking away from Congress.

Mr. Pawar, who had served as Chief Minister of

Maharashtr­a and also as Union Minister, recalled that he had contested his first election on the symbol of “a pair of bullocks”.

“The programme and ideology are more important than any symbol,” he said.

‘Oppn. targeted’

Mr. Pawar claimed that no BJP leader has faced action from the Enforcemen­t Directorat­e since the party has been been in power.

“The ED has conducted investigat­ions across the country, with 6,000 cases registered from 2005 to 2023. But, substantia­l findings were obtained in 25 cases, and 85% of the cases involved political leaders from the Opposition,” he claimed.

Asked about attack on journalist Nikhil Wagle, Mr. Pawar said it is a worrying situation. “It is an unfortunat­e incident and the State and the Centre should take note of this,” he said.

To a query on the Baramati Lok Sabha constituen­cy, M. Pawar said, “I am not going to contest the upcoming election. People from Baramati are straight and simple. They will take the right decision”. Baramati in Pune district is the political turf of Pawars.

Asked about the Citizenshi­p Amendment Act, he said, “Implementi­ng the CAA is not right. Let’s see what happens next week”. Home Minister Amid Shah has said the CAA will be implemente­d before the Lok Sabha polls after issuing the rules in this regard.

On seatsharin­g talks for the upcoming elections, Mr. Pawar said, “Talks are underway on seatsharin­g with (Prakash Ambedkarle­d) Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi. We are asking them for their programmes ahead of the Lok Sabha poll.”

 ?? FILE PHOTO ?? Sharad Pawar said programme and ideology are important people while a symbol is useful for a limited period. for the
FILE PHOTO Sharad Pawar said programme and ideology are important people while a symbol is useful for a limited period. for the

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