The Election Commission on Wednesday assigned the name “Nationalist Congress Party – Sharadchandra Pawar” to Sharad Pawar’s faction of the Nationalist Congress Party.

The poll body did not mention if an election symbol had been allocated to the faction.

Sharad Pawar’s group had submitted three name preferences – “Nationalist Congress Party – Sharadchandra Pawar”, “Nationalist Congress Party – Sharadrao Pawar” and “NCP – Sharad Pawar”.

This came a day after the Election Commission recognised the faction led by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar as the real Nationalist Congress Party and allocated it the “clock” election symbol.

The Election Commission had allowed Sharad Pawar’s faction to choose a new name for the February 27 polls for six Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra. If the faction had not informed the poll body of three preferred names by 4 pm on Wednesday, the MLAs from the group would have been treated as independent legislators.

In July, Ajit Pawar, along with several MLAs of the Nationalist Congress Party, joined Maharashtra’s coalition government comprising the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. Ajit Pawar then became the deputy chief minister.

The move led to a split in the Nationalist Congress Party, with one faction supporting the party founder Sharad Pawar and the other backing Ajit Pawar.

On Tuesday, the polling body said that its decision to recognise the Ajit Pawar faction as the Nationalist Congress Party was based on the “test of legislative majority”.

“The Commission examined the affidavits of support filed by both the factions and concluded that the group led by the petitioner [Ajit Pawar] enjoyed majority support among the legislators,” the polling body said.

It added: “In view of the aforesaid findings, this Commission holds that the faction led by the petitioner [Ajit Pawar] is the Nationalist Congress Party [NCP] and is entitled to use its name and reserved symbol ‘clock’ for the purposes of the Election Symbols [Reservation and Allotment] Order, 1968.”

Supriya Sule has said that the Sharad Pawar faction will challenge the Election Commission’s decision in the Supreme Court.

On January 29, the Supreme Court extended the deadline given to Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar to February 15, to decide on disqualification petitions against MLAs of Ajit Pawar’s faction.