The end of Ajit Pawar's ephemeral partnership with the BJP was propelled by a concerted intervention by the Pawar family, sources have told NDTV. It was only days ago that Mr Pawar had helped the BJP pull an incredible coup as he presented the support of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLAs, helping Devendra Fadnavis briefly return as Maharashtra Chief Minister on Saturday morning. On Tuesday, hours after the 80-hour-old government crumbled, Ajit Pawar drove to meet with NCP chief Sharad Pawar at his home.
Sharad Pawar, 78-year-old veteran of Maharashtra politics, had led the efforts to bring his nephew back into the party's fold by paring down public attacks on him despite the stunning mutiny. Sharad Pawar's family, meanwhile, stepped up efforts to placate Ajit Pawar, sources said.
Supriya Sule, who had expressed dismay at Ajit Pawar switching to the BJP camp on Saturday through a status message on WhatsApp saying "Party and family split", refrained from any further attacks. Ms Sule's family and the women in the Pawar family also played a key role in ending the discord, sources said.
For the last three days, Sharad Pawar reportedly sent emissaries to his nephew at least five times, knowing that Ajit Pawar will give in to his pressure. Leaders from the NCP, including Praful Patel, Jayant Patil, Hasan Mushrif and Sunil Tatkare, spoke with Ajit Pawar for hours, assuring him that his reputation will be restored upon his return.
On his part, Ajit Pawar gave the first conciliatory sign by not taking charge as Deputy Chief Minister on Monday even as Mr Fadnavis walked back into his old office.
On Tuesday morning, a meeting between Sharad Pawar and Ajit Pawar at the Trident hotel in Mumbai proved to be the last nail for Devendra Fadnavis's four-day-old BJP government.
It was after the meeting that Ajit Pawar resigned and in a few hours, Devendra Fadnavis also announced his resignation. During his press conference, Mr Fadnavis said that after Ajit Pawar had quit citing personal reasons and since the BJP did not have a majority, he is also resigning.