Nationalist Congress Party founder Sharad Pawar on Friday appealed to the Supreme Court for an urgent hearing of his plea challenging the Election Commission order that recognised Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s faction as the real Nationalist Congress Party, The Hindu reported.

Sharad Pawar had on Monday moved the top court against the Election Commission’s order.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi representing Sharad Pawar requested a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud for an urgent listing of the petition.

“This is a matter of extreme urgency,” Singhvi told the court, reported the Hindustan Times. “Because of the Election Commission’s order, Sharad Pawar will be subject to the whip of Ajit Pawar. The session in Maharashtra Assembly is slated to begin next week and we have not been given any symbol.”

The bench agreed to list the petition at the earliest.

The Ajit Pawar-led faction had also filed a caveat before the court last week, seeking a hearing if the Sharad Pawar faction challenged the poll body’s order, reported The Hindu.

On February 6, the Election Commission had recognised the Ajit Pawar faction as the real Nationalist Congress Party and allocated it the “clock” symbol.

The poll body had also allowed Sharad Pawar’s faction to use a new name for the February 27 polls for six Rajya Sabha seats from Maharashtra. It assigned the name “Nationalist Congress Party – Sharadchandra Pawar” to Sharad Pawar’s faction on February 7.

Sharad Pawar’s appeal to the top court came a day after the Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Rahul Narwekar held that the faction headed by Ajit Pawar constituted the real Nationalist Congress Party. He dismissed disqualification petitions against MLAs belonging to the group headed by the deputy chief minister as well as the group headed by Sharad Pawar.

Narwekar held that the MLAs of the Ajit Pawar faction could not be disqualified as going against the wishes of Sharad Pawar was dissent expressed within the party and did not amount to leaving it, reported The Indian Express.

In July last year, Ajit Pawar, along with several party MLAs, joined Maharashtra’s coalition government comprising the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena faction led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. After joining the coalition, Ajit Pawar also became the deputy chief minister of the state.

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