The 'Maha' twist was a top secret operation

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. (PTI Photo)

The sudden abrupt change in power equations in Maharashtra - that came like a bolt from the blue - was a top-secret operation. 

Only a handful including prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah were aware as to what was panning out.

In fact, BJP's second-term chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was constantly in touch with NCP leader and Sharad Pawar's nephew Ajit Pawar. 

According to highly-placed sources,  a select group of people established contact with Pawar Jr earlier this week. 

In fact,  last week, Pawar Jr ahead of the first joint meeting of the NCP-Congress,  said: "main Baramati ja raha hoon". But, he later joined the meeting.

Sensing something amiss,  the BJP launched an operation to get Pawar nephew on board.

Only a handful of leaders like state BJP president Chandrakant Patil and BJP's troubleshooters and close Devendra Fadnavis aides Girish Mahajan and Prakash Lad were aware of what exactly was panning out. In fact, during the Karnataka crisis, Lad had played an instrumental role. 

Besides, it was a known fact that Ajit wanted the CM's chair to rotate between Sena and NCP.  But Congress and NCP made it clear that Sena will get a full five-year term and Uddhav Thackeray was the unanimous choice of CM. 

At this stage,  the BJP convinced Ajit to walk out and changed sides.  

In fact,  the day President's rule was imposed,  Fadnavis summoned Uddhav's bete noire Narayan Rane and asked him to ensure that an alternative government does not take shape.

As part of the operation,  the BJP leaders also tried to access some Shiv Sena and Congress MLAs but both the parties managed to keep the flock together. "Despite Sharad Pawar, NCP was vulnerable because of political ambitions of Ajit Pawar," sources said. 

Besides,  Pawar is embroiled in the irrigation scam and the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam.

They added that through some highly-reliable emissaries, Fadnavis was in regular touch with Ajit and persuaded him. 

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