Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar's comment suggesting that Congress's situation was now like impoverished landlords who have no land and can not maintain their houses evoked a sharp reaction from Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole on Friday.
Speaking to reporters, Patole also made a veiled reference to Pawar's exit from the Congress over two decades ago.
'The leaders who were entrusted with power by the Congress eventually betrayed it,' the state Congress chief said.
'Congress was never a party of zamindars....Congress gave its land to several leaders for upkeep but they stole it over the years,' Patole added.
There will be a Congress prime minister in the country in 2024, he said.
Speaking to Marathi news portal Mumbai Tak on Thursday, Pawar had said that there was a time when Congress had presence from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. But the party should now accept that it was no longer the case, he had said.
'When it comes to leadership, my colleagues in the Congress are not in a mind to take a different point of view,' Pawar had added.
He also recounted that in the past he had spoken of Uttar Pradesh zamindars who lost land and were left with only their havelis (mansions) which they could not maintain or repair, suggesting that the Congress's situation was like that.
Elsewhere, commenting on Pawar's statements, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis told reporters that he had 'shown the mirror to Congress'.