NCP moves disqualification petition against Ajit Pawar, 8 other MLAs

Mumbai: 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, personally delivered the petition at Narwekar’s residence late Sunday night, as per sources.

When contacted, Narwekar’s office confirmed the petition has been received.

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.