Mumbai, February 6: The Sharad Pawar camp on Tuesday described as the "murder of democracy" the Election Commission's decision to declare the Ajit Pawar faction as the real Nationalist Congress Party which it claimed was taken under pressure, whereas ex-Union minister Praful Patel welcomed the ruling. The Commission also allotted the NCP symbol 'wall clock' to the group led by Ajit Pawar.

"This is the murder of democracy. What happened is unfortunate,” former Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh said. The poll panel gave this ruling under “pressure from above,” Deshmukh told a TV channel. On the other hand, senior NCP leader Praful Patel said the EC ruling proves that the majority of party workers and elected representatives are with Ajit Pawar. The Election Commission's ruling on Tuesday ended months of speculation over the factional fight between Ajit Pawar and party founder and his uncle Sharad Pawar. Ajit Pawar Faction Is Real NCP: Big Setback to Sharad Pawar, Election Commission Decides Nationalist Congress Party Symbol Goes to Ajit Pawar

Deshmukh said a similar decision was taken in the case of Shiv Sena, referring to the ECI recognising the Eknath Shinde-led group as the real Shiv Sena after he rebelled against Uddhav Thackeray in 2022. "Everybody knows Sharad Pawar founded the Nationalist Congress Party and he has been the party's national president since its inception," Deshmukh added. The NCP leader referred to the strictures passed by the Supreme Court in the Chandigarh mayoral election.

"The SC on Monday said it cannot allow the murder of democracy regarding the Chandigarh mayoral election. Despite that the ECI today gave a similar decision regarding the party name and its symbol. It is highly unfortunate," he added. The ECI decision followed the laid-out tests of maintainability of such a petition which included tests of aims and objectives of the party constitution, test of party constitution and tests of majority both organisational and legislative, the commission said. Ajit Pawar’s Faction is Real Nationalist Congress Party, Says Election Commission

“The test of majority in the legislative wing found favour in this circumstance of the case, where both groups have been found to be working outside the party constitution and the organisational elections," the poll authority observed.