Speaking to Outlook before the polls, Pawar had said that "defeating communal forces" was top-most on his agenda. Though the Congress had snubbed the NCP by refusing an alliance in Gujarat, Pawar had said his party would put up candidates "only in areas where the Congress was weak" in order to "avoid splitting the secular vote". But the NCP satrap, it now seems, hasn’t been true to his word.
The Congress leaders in Maharashtra are hopping mad. And some have even gone to the extent of accusing Pawar of having cut a secret deal with the BJP. It has also set off another round of speculation about Pawar’s future plans. Is he going to play footsie with the BJP or retreat, to placate the Congress with whom his party shares power in Maharashtra? Any signal from this master of doublespeak is only bound to be confusing.