The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has moved a petition before Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar, seeking disqualification of Ajit Pawar and eight other MLAs who have taken oath as ministers in the Eknath Shinde-led government.
Jitendra Awhad, whom the NCP has appointed leader of opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly after Ajit Pawar joined the ruling alliance, delivered the petition at Narwekar’s residence late Sunday night, as per sources.
When contacted, Narwekar’s office confirmed the petition has been received.
The NCP’s disciplinary committee has also passed a resolution to disqualify the nine legislators. The committee chief, Jaiprakash Dandegaonkar, submitted a report to NCP president Sharad Pawar late Sunday evening after passing the resolution.
“These actions of the nine MLAs call for immediate disqualification as not only are such defections ipso facto seriously damaging to the party but also that if allowed to continue as members, there is a very real likelihood that they will continue to try and undermine the interests of the party,” the resolution said.
The fact that these defections were done in such a secretive manner, ”without the knowledge or consent of the party president”, amounts to desertion of the party which in turn invites disqualification, it said.
“We take cognisance of the same and direct appropriate steps may be taken in accordance with the party constitution and rules as also the tenth schedule of the Constitution of India. As per the procedure, party president Sharad Pawar has been informed and consulted for the same,” the resolution said.
Maharashtra NCP president Jayant Patil on Sunday said his party has moved the disqualification petition against Ajit Pawar and eight others.
He said an e-mail has also been sent to the Election Commission of India informing that the rank and file of the NCP is with party chief Sharad Pawar.
The party founded by Sharad Pawar in 1999 suffered a vertical split on Sunday after his nephew Ajit Pawar broke ranks and joined the Shiv Sena-BJP government as deputy chief minister.
Eight other NCP MLAs, including staunch Sharad Pawar loyalists like Chhagan Bhujbal and Dilip Walse Patil, were made ministers.
Patil said these MLAs ”cannot be called traitors as their betrayal has not yet been proved”.
”Many are in touch with us,” he added.