NCP Denies Party Split, Appoints Ajit Pawar as President
Mumbai: NCP leader Praful Patel on Friday said the party had not broken up, and Ajit Pawar was unanimously appointed as party president by its legislature and organisational wings on June 30.
Addressing a press conference here, Patel said they had submitted a petition to the Election Commission of India (ECI) with affidavits of more than 40 MLAs, informing it about Ajit Pawar's appointment and staking claim over the "party name and symbol".
The meeting of the national working committee of the NCP held by Sharad Pawar in Delhi on Thursday was not official, he claimed. The organizational structure of the party was completely "flawed," Patel, a veteran NCP leader, said.
"An important meeting was held on June 30 at 'Devgiri' (Ajit Pawar's official residence in Mumbai) where legislators, office-bearers and party workers were present. They unanimously appointed Ajit Pawar as their leader," he said.
Immediately after the appointment, Ajit Pawar conveyed to the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar that Praful Patel has been appointed as national working president, Patel said.
Ajit Pawar himself was appointed as leader of the NCP legislature party, Anil Patel continued to be the party whip in Assembly and the Legislative Council chairperson was informed that Amol Mitkari was appointed as whip in the Council, he said.
"Who will determine (which is) the (real) political party ? It is in the domain of the Election Commission of India while actions of the legislators is the domain of the Speaker," Patel said.
Jayant Patil (who took action against Ajit Pawar faction leaders after they joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government in Maharashtra on July 2) was not the party president as per its constitution, and his petition to Maharashtra Speaker seeking to disqualify rebel leaders was invalid, Patel asserted.
The decisions taken by the Sharad Pawar group, expelling or disqualifying leaders of the Ajit Pawar faction, were illegal and not applicable, he said.
Reacting to Patel's statements, NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto, who belongs to the Sharad Pawar camp, said if the structure of the party organisation was flawed, his appointment as working president and that of Ajit Pawar as national president too was invalid.
"By saying that the @NCPspeaks organization is 'structurally flawed' because party's election process is incomplete, is Mr.@praful_patel telling the @ECISVEEP that his appointment as 'Working President' and that of Mr. Ajit Pawar as 'President' is invalid," Crasto tweeted.
Jitendra Awhad, another leader of the Sharad Pawar faction, said if Praful Patel was claiming that the party belonged to the breakaway group, why did they feel the need to make fresh appointments. It was Sharad Pawar who gave them the power to put their signature (on the party's official letters), so how could they deny his position as party supremo, Awhad asked.