Sharad Pawar, a stalwart in Indian politics renowned for his strategic acumen, faces a significant challenge as his party's name and symbol have been seized following a mutiny led by his nephew, Ajit Pawar as per a report by NDTV.
The Election Commission's recent ruling favoring the Ajit Pawar faction, including senior leaders like Chhagan Bhujbal and Praful Patel, to retain the Nationalist Congress Party name and 'clock' symbol presents a major setback to the veteran leader, especially with crucial elections on the horizon.
In response, Sharad Pawar's faction swiftly mobilises to counter the blow.
Supriya Sule, Pawar's daughter and Baramati MP, has pledged to submit the preferences promptly.
However, the task ahead involves not only overcoming the immediate electoral challenges but also effectively disseminating awareness about the new party's identity and symbol, especially in rural areas where the clock symbol had a strong association with Sharad Pawar.
Furthermore, the Sharad Pawar camp has initiated legal action, approaching the Supreme Court against the Election Commission's ruling.
In response to this, the Ajit Pawar faction took preemptive action by lodging a caveat in the Supreme Court, requesting a hearing.
The caveat, represented by advocate Abhikalp Pratap Singh, aims to prevent any unilateral decisions against the Ajit Pawar faction should the opposing group approach the apex court.
Supriya Sule drew parallels with a similar situation faced by the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction of the Shiv Sena, emphasising their determination to contest the decision in court.
Yet, the road ahead promises to be arduous, with any significant relief from the Supreme Court unlikely before the impending elections.
Despite the setback, Sharad Pawar retains his status as a key leader in the Indian opposition bloc.
However, the ruling is anticipated to impact his bargaining position, particularly in Maharashtra, where alliances are crucial.
On the other hand, the Ajit Pawar faction, now buoyed by the Election Commission's ruling, and the government led by Eknath Shinde, have expressed satisfaction with the decision.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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