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Pawar, Sangma make bid for name, symbol, flag of NCP

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | January 27, 2004 12:00 IST
Last Updated: January 27, 2004 13:57 IST

The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party on Tuesday filed a caveat with the Election Commission even as P A Sangma approached the EC to stake claim to the NCP's name, symbol and flag.

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A delegation led by party general secretary Pitamber Master filed the caveat. The delegation sought a hearing from the EC before deciding on any matter concerning the party.

Others in the delegation included A Sharan, chairman of the party's legal cell, and party secretary S R Kohli.

Pawar had told PTI on Monday that the caveat would be filed as a matter of abundant precaution as he did not feel that Sangma 'would be indulging in any such action'.

Meanwhile, Sangma has approached the EC with a similar demand. Accompanied by Supreme Court advocate Aman Sinha, he called on A K Majumdar who is the secretary in charge of registration of political parties in the Election Commission, and submitted a memorandum claiming that his party is the real NCP.

"We have told the commission that we would produce the necessary evidence as and when called to do so," Sangma told newspersons after the meeting.

Senior NCP leader Praful Patel said, "The election commission has given several rulings where in they have rejected the claim of an individual for allotment of party symbol and flag. We expect a similar verdict from election commission in this case as well. There is no question of freezing the symbol in this case because Sangma has walked out of the party and has elected himself as president of the breakaway group."

However, Sangma seemed sure of his grounds. "According to EC guidelines, a party must have a presence in three states and over 6 per cent of the vote to get recognition as a national political party. We fulfil both criteria. We have a presence in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Meghalaya.

"Besides, we continue to pursue the issue over which the party was formed - opposition to a person of foreign origin becoming the prime minister of India," he said.

Sangma refused to react to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Pramod Mahajan's statement that not only a person seeking to become prime minister should be of Indian origin but also his parents should be of Indian origin.

NCP suffered a three-way split on January 24 with Sangma 'replacing' Pawar as party chief at a convention of rebel partymen and Chhattisgarh leader V C Shukla announcing that he would be floating a regional outfit. Sangma had declared that he would be approaching the Election Commission on January 27 to claim the party symbol and flag.

NCP general secretary Tariq Anwar has already attacked Sangma's move saying that the former Lok Sabha Speaker did not have the support of party MPs, MLAS and members of the party's working committee. He expressed confidence that the Election Commission would reject Sangma's plea.

With inputs from PTI

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