EC allows Sharad Pawar-led NCP-SP to accept donations

NCP(SP) chief Sharad Pawar
NCP(SP) chief Sharad Pawar

New Delhi | The Election Commission on Monday allowed the Nationalist Congress Party-Sharadchandra Pawar to accept donations keeping in mind the forthcoming assembly polls in Maharashtra.

The Sharad Pawar-led outfit had requested the commission to certify the status of the party for it to accept voluntary contributions from the public.

The poll panel has authorised the party to "accept any amount of contribution voluntarily offered to it by any person or company other than a government company" under the relevant sections of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which govern the contribution to all political parties.

An eight-member delegation of the NCP-SP party led by its working president Supriya Sule met the Election Commission on Monday.

"Earlier, we could not receive cheques as contributions to our party. We were not getting tax benefits for contributions like other political parties. We want to fight this (Assembly) election transparently, using only white money. I am grateful to the Election Commission for granting us a letter allowing us to raise money legally and transparently," Sule told reporters here.

The authorisation to the NCP-SP to accept donations will be applicable till the final disposal of the petition in the Supreme Court against the Election Commission's decision.

In July last year, Ajit Pawar led a rebellion against his uncle Sharad Pawar and claimed the symbol as well as the party name Nationalist Congress Party, citing the support of over two-thirds of the outfit's legislators in the Maharashtra assembly.

The Election Commission upheld his claim and asked the Sharad Pawar-led faction to pick a new name as an interim measure in view of the Lok Sabha elections.

The authorisation to the NCP-SP to accept donations will be applicable till the final disposal of the petition in the Supreme Court against the Election Commission decision.

The Sharad Pawar-led NCP-SP contested 10 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra and won eight, while Ajit Pawar's NCP contested five seats and managed to win just one.

Sule said the NCP-SP also raised the issue of similar appearing poll symbols such as the "trumpet" and the "man blowing trumpet". The Election Commission had allotted the poll symbol "man blowing trumpet" to the NCP-SP.

"In a democracy, there must be transparency. There should not be injustice done to any candidate. But injustice has taken place in Satara. Our poll symbol, the man blowing a trumpet, was placed next to a lookalike symbol of just a trumpet," Sule said.

She said similar-looking symbols should not be allocated to parties or candidates.

"The Election Commission has said that they will study the matter and get back to us," Sule said.

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