In a major blow to Sharad Pawar, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday held that the faction led by his nephew Ajit Pawar is the real 'Nationalist Congress Party' and permitted the faction to use the 'clock' symbol for the party..The ECI applied the test of majority in the legislative wing to determine which of the two factions can claim to be the real NCP.The poll body noted that the total number of NCP MLAs in Maharashtra State assembly stood at 81. Out of this, Ajit Pawar submitted affidavits of 57 MLAs in his support while Sharad Pawar had only 28 affidavits. In view of this, the commission concluded that the group led by Ajit Pawar enjoyed majority support of the legislators and can lay claim to being NCP. "In view of the findings, the ECI holds that the faction led by Ajit Pawar is the Nationalist Congress Party and is entitled to use its name and reserved symbol 'clock' for the purpose of th reelection Symbols Order", the ECI held in its order. .ECI rejected the application of test of majority in the organisational wing of the party as the details of the organisational structure of the party, its members and their elections appeared to be without any foundational basis."It was seen that the 'working committee' and the 'national committee' were the apex representative bodies of the party. However, the documents brought on record of the commission show that in the case of the working committee the names of the members were announced by Sharad Pawar at a convention held in September 2022 rather than as per party constitutions. In case of national committee, nothing was brought on record to show whether the elections of the state committee were even held as that formed crus of the national committee," the ECI order reasoned. .The ECI also highlighted the issues arising from the non-transparent functioning of political parties in the country. "Majority of symbol dispute cases before the Commission show that political parties are either not holding regular organisational elections, or not holding them as per party constitution or have amended their constitution in such a manner that elections have turned into appointments," the commission observedIt added that such actions by the party rendered the application of the majority test in the organisation wing of the party ineffective."Such party structures fail to inspire confidence of the Commission and the Commission is forced to ignore the numerical strength of opposing factions in the Organisational Wing despite being conscious of its importance and role as the building block of the party. This outcome is often a creation of the party itself, which failed to follow its own constitution," the order stated. The commission concluded its order by urging all political parties to adopt good disclosure practices within its internal structure..Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi, Neeraj Kaul, Maninder Singh and Siddharth Bhatnagar with advocates Abhikalp Pratap Singh, Shrirang Varma, Devanshi Singh, Aditya Krishna and Yamini Singh appeared for Ajit Pawar.Senior advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Devadutt Kamat with advocates Amit Bhandari, Pranjal Agarwal, Muhammad Ali Khan, Harsh Pandey, Anubhav Kumar and Uday Bhatia appeared for Sharad Pawar.