The Nationalist Congress Party, which was in talks with the Congress and the Shiv Sena to form a government in Maharashtra, was on Saturday left shell-shocked after BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis along with Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar took oath as the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of the state, respectively. Many NCP leaders described the Ajit Pawar's move as "backstabbing".

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NCP chief Sharad Pawar interacts with Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray during the Centenary celebration ceremony of Saraswat Bank in Mumbai on Sept 15, 2018.IANS

A senior NCP leader, wishing not to be named told IANS, "The BJP was trying its best to lure leaders to forge an alliance with them and form the government in the state. But Sharad Pawar was not ready to go with the BJP as this step could have proved as political suicide for him." He said, even during Sharad Pawar's meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament for over 50 minutes, where Union Home Minister Amit Shah was also present the BJP tried its best to convince Sharad Pawar.

"But he again refused the demand," the NCP leader said. Another NCP leader, who was related to the development of the talks between the three parties said, "When the Shiv Sena and the Congress were busy in keeping their houses together by keeping their MLAs either in hotels or resorts in Jaipur, Sharad Pawar believed in his nephew and did not put any of his MLAs anywhere."

'Ajit Pawar part of talks with Congress & Shiv Sena'

He said, Sharad Pawar trusted his nephew Ajit Pawar and that was the reason why he was made the party's CLP leader." "Even Ajit Pawar was part of all the talks with the Congress and the Shiv Sena. And after the meeting of NCP and Congress in the national capital on Wednesday and Thursday, Ajit Pawar flew to Mumbai along with Sharad Pawar," he said.

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Shiv Sena with 56 members refused to join the BJP in forming a government, insisting on rotation of Chief Ministership.Twitter

"After arriving in Mumbai, Ajit was also present in the meeting of the three parties in the evening at Nehru Centre and was part of the negotiations," he said. "This is backstabbing by Ajit Pawar to his uncle," he said. The party leader said that even Sharad Pawar has said that to join the BJP was Ajit Pawar's personal decision and the NCP does not endorse this.

According to the NCP leaders, the talks of the NCP, Shiv Sena and the Congress were on the final course as only the Cabinet berths were left to be decided. The NCP leaders said that Sharad Pawar will hold a joint press conference with Shiv Sena in the afternoon and he has also called a meeting of all the MLAs of the NCP in evening to discuss the future course of action.

Shiv Sena's fallout with BJP

In the October 21 election, the BJP had won 105 out of 288 seats, while its pre-poll alliance partner Shiv Sena won 56 seats. The NCP and the Congress won 54 and 44 seats, respectively. However, the Shiv Sena had a fallout with the BJP as Uddhav Thackarey demand rotational chief ministership. But the BJP refused to concede the demand of Shiv Sena.

President's rule was imposed in Maharashtra on November 12, 18 days after the results of the elections were declared as none of the parties were able to form a government in the state.