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Maharashtra NCP Moves Disqualification Petitions Against Ajit Pawar, 8 Other MLAs

Nine NCP MLAs took oath as ministers in the Eknath Shinde-led Maharashtra government, effectively splitting the party into two. The development comes a year after a revolt led by Shinde against the Shiv Sena (then undivided) led to the collapse of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

Ajit Pawar sworn-in as Maha Deputy CM
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The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) moved disqualification petitions against Ajit Pawar and a handful of others who joined the Eknath Shinde government on Sunday. The party also approached the Election Commission of India (ECI) over the issue.

Addressing a press conference late on Sunday, Maharashtra NCP President Jayant Patil said his party has sent a disqualification petition to Assembly Speaker Rahul Narvekar against Ajit Pawar and eight others who took oath as ministers in the Eknath Shinde-led state government.

"They didn't inform anyone that they are leaving the party which is against NCP. We have also written a letter to the election commission of India. We are not accepting this, these 9 leaders didn't inform us before doing this (leaving the party). We believe most of the MLAs will come back to NCP and we will accept them again," Patil said.

Patil's statement regarding disqualification came hours after Sharad Pawar said that he would not be pursuing a legal battle. “There is no need to fight this battle legally, and neither do I have any issues if someone claims ownership over the NCP. We will go to people and seek their support. I am confident they will support us,” said Sharad Pawar.

He further said that he would build new leadership in the party and asserted he gets more energy to work when such situations come up. 

Slamming those who left for praising the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pawar said he could not understand what changed in the last four years (since the 2019 Assembly polls). "Four years ago, when we faced elections, our target was Modi, and we were Modi's target. Now, after opposing (him) for four years, what suddenly happened today? The real thing is they wanted to go as they needed power," he said.

Addressing reporters after taking oath as deputy CM, Ajit Pawar had maintained that there was no split in the NCP and that they would contest all future elections on the NCP's name and symbol.

"All the elected representatives (of the party) have supported the decision to join the government," he had claimed.

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