More Congress MLAs to ditch party in Maharashtra? NCP leader's big claim | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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More Congress MLAs to ditch party in Maharashtra? NCP leader's big claim

Feb 21, 2024 07:11 PM IST

Congress has been hit by high-profile exits of Milind Deora and Ashok Chavan in the run-up to Lok Sabha elections.

A Nationalist Congress Party leader on Wednesday claimed that seven Congress MLAs and two legislators from NCP-Sharadchandra Pawar are in talks to cross over to the ruling alliance.

"Seven MLAs of Congress are in contact with us and 2 MLAs of Sharad Pawar faction also want to join Maha Yuti and work under the leadership of Ajit Pawar. Before Lok Sabha elections, there are going to be a large number of joinings," NCP leader Amol Mitkari told news agency ANI.

If claim are true, it would be a big setback to the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The grand old party has been hit by high-profile exits in Maharashtra with Ashok Chavan and Milind Deora joining the BJP and Shiv Sena respectively.

HT had reported on February 3 that about 15 Congress MLA would quit the party ahead of the elections. Chavan, a former chief minister, enjoys a mass support and has several MLAs loyal to him.

On the other hand, Ajit Pawar and his uncle Sharad are locked in a fierce battle over the legacy of NCP, the party founded by the latter two decades ago following his expulsion from the Congress.

A file photo of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge with party leader Rahul Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar at a protest of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi(PTI file)
A file photo of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge with party leader Rahul Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar at a protest of Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi(PTI file)

The Election Commission on February 7 had declared Ajit's faction as the real NCP and allotted it the ‘clock’ symbol. Later, the poll panel granted the Nationalist Congress Party (Sharadchandra Pawar) as the name for the group headed by the veteran leader.

Maharashtra assembly speaker Rahul Narwekar on February 15 held that the NCP faction led by Ajit Pawar was the real NCP and that the anti-defection provisions in the Constitution cannot be used to stifle internal dissent.

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The Supreme Court on Monday directed that the EC's order of February 7 granting the name of 'Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar' for the group led by Sharad Pawar will continue till further orders.

(With agency inputs)

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