Hours after Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar's statements, Maha Vikas Aghadi ally Congress appeared unperturbed and went on to predict breakaway faction leader Ajit Pawar's 'return' to his original party, here on Friday.
Congress state president Nana Patole said that after meeting Pawar Sr., Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar may have expressed a desire to return to the NCP.
"Sharad Pawar is a senior and experienced leader. From his statements, it appears that he has succeeded in changing Ajit Pawar's mind and he will soon return to his party," said Patole.
Chief Spokesperson of Congress Atul Londhe said that a lot of political speculation has started after Sharad Pawar's statements on Friday in Pune, though "he has repeatedly made it clear that he will not go with the Bharatiya Janata Party".
"A simple interpretation of Sharad Pawar's statement is that Maharashtra and the country might see 'Ajit Pawar Returns Part-2' soon. There is no need to view it differently," claimed Londhe.
He pointed out how Ajit Pawar and his supporters -- who are now part of the state government -- continue to meet or seek Sharad Pawar's blessings, and it implies that Ajit Pawar will come back from the political mess created by the BJP.
Londhe slammed the BJP for 'committing the sin' of sabotaging and breaking Opposition parties, starting with the Shiv Sena to topple the former CM Uddhav Thackeray, and forming the government with Eknath Shinde as the CM (June 2022).
After that, the BJP did the same with the NCP but given Sharad Pawar's political competence and experience, the Ajit Pawar faction has not yet received official recognition and now "the BJP will be shown its place", said Londhe.
Patole reiterated that there is no confusion in the Congress and Shiv Sena (UBT) after Sharad Pawar’ utterances, and the people will vote the MVA with a full majority in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress reactions came in response to Sharad Pawar's assertions that the NCP has "not split" -- 55 days after the breakaway faction led by Ajit Pawar walked out to join the Shinde government last month.
The 83-year-old NCP supremo said that the party is still united and all the leaders who have adopted a separate path "are also ours" – as his utterances fuelled speculation.
Amid a political furore, later on Friday evening, Sharad Pawar claimed that he was quoted out of context in the matter.