Jayant Patil said he was with Sharad Pawar last evening (File)
Senior NCP leader Jayant Patil, a Sharad Pawar loyalist, on Sunday denied rumours that he had a "secret" meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Pune. Mr Patil, who heads the Maharashtra NCP unit, also scotched speculation that he was set to join the Ajit Pawar-led group in the Shiv Sena-BJP government.
Senior BJP leader and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also stressed that no meeting has taken place between Mr Shah and Mr Patil.
Amit Shah on Sunday launched the digital portal of the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS) office in Pune.
Mr Patil said he was with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Saturday evening and later met senior colleagues Anil Deshmukh, Rajesh Tope and Sunil Bhusara at his home.
"They were at my house till 1.30 am. I met Sharad Pawar again this morning. Those who spread these rumours should answer at what time I met Shah in Pune and show proof. I am always with Sharad Pawar. Such speculations should stop," he told reporters.
Mr Patil said there was no pressure on him to switch sides and he hasn't held talks with anyone.
"I attended the MVA meeting (on Saturday) for organizing the INDIA conclave in Mumbai. I am part of the organizing committee, so it is evident why such speculations are coming," the senior NCP leader added.
Mr Patil said that his only aim is to expand the NCP's base.
Later, Mr Patil visited the NCP office in Mumbai where he met party workers and leaders.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Fadnavis said, "No meeting has taken place between Shah and Jayant Patil. Those who are spreading rumours should first verify the information before making it public."
Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar and eight MLAs of NCP joined the Eknath Shinde-led state government last month.
Ajit Pawar took oath as Deputy Chief Minister and the eight MLAs as ministers.
Since then, political circles in Maharashtra are rife with speculations about growing restlessness among MLAs in the Sharad Pawar camp.
Meanwhile, NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad also said that reports of Jayant Patil meeting Mr Shah are wrong. "I will be with Sharad Pawar till my last breath," he told reporters.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)