Ajit Pawar's resignation as Maharashtra deputy chief minister on Tuesday afternoon, which led to the collapse of the four-day-old government headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, came amidst sustained persuasion by members of his family and senior Nationalist Congress Party leaders, sources said.
Family and NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar spoke to his prodigal nephew over the phone on Tuesday morning, asking him to revisit his decision to align with the BJP and stay in power.
In the morning, Ajit Pawar met with Sadanand Sule, husband of his cousin and Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule, at a hotel in south Mumbai, sources said.
"Dada (as Ajit is fondly called) held discussions with Sule at the hotel on Tuesday morning. Pawarsaheb also spoke to him over the phone in the morning," the sources said.
After meeting Sule, Ajit Pawar went to Varsha, the Maharashtra chief minister's official residence where the Bharatiya Janata Party held its core committee meeting.
After the meeting, Ajit Pawar tendered his resignation citing 'personal reasons'.
The development resulted in the nascent BJP-led government losing its majority on the eve of the Supreme Court-monitored floor test in the Maharashtra assembly, and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis resigning later that afternoon.
On November 23 morning, Ajit Pawar, then the legislature party leader of the NCP, broke ranks with the party and lent support to the BJP in forming a government.
However, members of the Pawar clan and senior NCP leaders kept up their resolve to win back Sharad Pawar's nephew over the last four days.
On Saturday, Supriya Sule had made an emotional appeal requesting Ajit Pawar to return to the NCP fold.
Besides his nephew Rohit Pawar, several NCP leaders requested the Baramati MLA to reconsider his move.
"Members of the Pawar clan have been persuading Ajit to return to the NCP since the last four days. The efforts have paid off," sources said.
Senior NCP leaders Jayant Patil, Dilip Walse-Patil, Sunil Tatkare and Chhagan Bhujbal had tried to convince Ajit Pawar.
'We were trying (to convince Ajit Pawar). The family should not break,' Bhujbal told reporters.
Dilip Walse-Patil too said the NCP was hopeful that Ajit Pawar would change his decision to align with the BJP.
'We had held a brief discussion with him,' Jayant Patil, who heads the state NCP unit, had said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ajit Pawar stayed away from the function to offer tributes to martyrs of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack at the police memorial which was attended by Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and Fadnavis.
Though Ajit Pawar was sacked as leader of the NCP legislature party, he continued to remain a member of the Sharad Pawar-led party.