In a move that jolted political circles in Maharashtra, the entire breakaway faction of the Nationalist Congress Party made a surprise visit to NCP founder-President Sharad Pawar here on Sunday afternoon.
They included Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Working President Praful Patel, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, state President Sunil Tatkare, the breakaway faction Ministers and other senior leaders.
After the meeting, Patel said they all have the highest regards for Sharad Pawar as he is their beacon and their mentor.
"We met him to seek his blessings and to work and keep the party united. He listened to us patiently but did not react," said Patel.
Sunday's impromptu 30-minute rendezvous comes two days after Ajit Pawar dropped in to meet his aunt (Sharad Pawar's wife) Pratibha Pawar, who underwent a hand surgery on Friday.
After the meeting - when he also interacted with uncle Sharad Pawar and cousin Supriya Sule, Ajit Pawar justified that "politics aside, family always come first". He also said the he was heeding to a call of his conscience and rushed to meet his ailing aunt.
Sunday's meeting raised quite a few political eyebrows,coming on the eve of the 3-week-long Maharashtra legislature Monsoon Session starting here from July 17.
This was the breakaway group's first direct meeting with Pawar Sr. - two weeks after Ajit Pawar split the NCP and joined the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party government as a second Deputy CM on July 2.
Those who were present to meet Sharad Pawar at the Y.B. Chavan Centre also included Deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal, Ministers Chhagan Bhujbal, Dilip Walse-Patil, Dhananjay Munde, Aditi Tatkare, and other leaders.
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