Nationalist Congress Party leader Dhananjay Munde on Sunday tweeted to reassure that he has not betrayed his party by siding with the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis in trying to form government with NCP leader Ajit Pawar's support.
"I am with party, I am with Pawar saheb. Please don't spread rumours," Mr Munde tweeted this evening, hours after NCP chief Sharad Pawar said his nephew Ajit Pawar's claim that the NCP would back the BJP to form government was meant "to create confusion and false perception among the people".
Mr Munde, 44, who was said to be Ajit Pawar's chief collaborator in the move to break away from the NCP and support the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis, made a surprising appearance on Saturday evening at a meeting called by NCP chief Sharad Pawar to take stock of the party's MLAs.
On Saturday morning, three of the NCP MLAs who attended the oath ceremony of Devendra Fadnavis as Chief Minister and Ajit Pawar as his deputy said they had received a call at midnight and asked to go to Mr Munde's home at 7 am before being taken to the Governor's house for the swearing in at 7.50 am.
"Before we realised what was happening, we saw Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar being administered oath by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari," they said.
Mr Munde remained missing for much of the day on Saturday, reinforcing speculation that he had joined Ajit Pawar, until he turned up at the NCP meeting.
Ajit Pawar on Sunday praised his uncle Sharad Pawar as "Saheb" who is "our leader". "I am in the NCP and shall always be in the NCP and Sharad Pawar Saheb is our leader. Our BJP-NCP alliance shall provide a stable government in Maharashtra for the next five years which will work sincerely for the welfare of the state and its people," Ajit Pawar tweeted.
The latest tweet by the NCP leader is seen as an attempt to lay claim to his uncle's hold over the party, many of whose 54 MLAs the BJP would need to form government.
Sharad Pawar tweeted immediate denial. "There is no question of forming an alliance with @BJP4Maharashtra. NCP has unanimously decided to ally with @ShivSena & @INCMaharashtra to form the government. Shri Ajit Pawar's statement is false and misleading in order to create confusion and false perception among the people," the veteran leader's tweet read.