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Thursday, April 25, 2024

SC directs Ajit Pawar group not to use Sharad Pawar’s name during election campaign


 The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Ajit Pawar faction, which has been officially recognized as the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) by the Election Commission of India to submit an undertaking in the court that they will not use the name and pictures of former NCP supremo Sharad Pawar in the election campaign.

A bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice KV Viswanathan asked the Ajit Pawar group to file an undertaking categorically stating that they will not directly or indirectly use the name of Sharad Pawar during the election campaign.

The Court orally suggested the Ajit Pawar group to use a symbol other than the ‘clock’ symbol for elections so that there wouldn’t be any confusion.

The matter came up before the court on a plea filed by Sharad Pawar’s faction challenging the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) decision which had held that Ajit Pawar’s faction as the official Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and allotted the ‘clock’ symbol to them.

Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the Sharad Pawar group, submitted that the official faction was using the ‘clock’ symbol, which is historically associated with Sharad Pawar, and the names and pictures of the senior Pawar in campaign materials. He said that the statement was made by Chhagan Bhujbal, to his party members that the ‘clock’ symbol and pictures of Sharad Pawar should be used in posters to lure rural voters.

The bench asked Senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Ajit Pawar group why they were using the photographs of Sharad Pawar. The bench lamented at the Ajit Pawar faction and said, “ If you are so confident, then use your photographs.”

To this, Singh Replied no one from the party was doing this, maybe some stray members might have done it. Singh further said that it may not be possible to control all social media posters by the workers.

To this, the bench categorically said that it is for the party to discipline its members.

Justice Kant asked, “Then who is responsible? and directed, “You give an undertaking that you will stop all members of your faction from using his photo. Now that you are two separate entities, go only with your own identity. You have chosen to separate. Now stick to this. It is for you to control your workers.”

Justice Kant came down heavily on the Ajit Kumar faction and directed them to submit an undertaking in the court that pictures and names of Sharad Pawar would not be used in their posters and other election campaign material.

The court directed the Ajit Pawar faction to submit a categorical and unconditional undertaking that, ‘there will be no overlap and you will not use his name, photos, etc of the Sharad Pawar faction,” Justice Kant further directed.

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