In a move that came as a surprise to many, veteran politician Sharad Pawar on Tuesday resigned as president of the Nationalist Congress Party, the political outfit he floated more than two decades ago.
But he isn't retiring from politics yet. There has been no announcement yet on who will succeed him as party boss.
"I have decided to step down as the president of the NCP," Pawar said at the launch of the second edition of his autobiography Lok Maze Sangati. His announcement was greeted by loud exclamations from the gathering.
The four-time Maharashtra chief minister made the surprise announcement, with nephew Ajit Pawar by his side, at a book launch event of his autobiography in Mumbai. His decision was met with protests by NCP workers and leaders, many of whom could be seen in tears.
Mr Pawar also announced a panel of senior party leaders to draw a future course of action.
Party workers and leaders, however, demanded that Sharad Pawar withdraw his decision. They threatened not to leave the venue unless he rescinded his decision.
Speculations of Ajit Pawar jumping ship were rife when he last month skipped a meeting of his party's Mumbai unit, raising eyebrows in political circles about his next political move. He had later played down the buzz, saying that he was unable to attend the NCP convention as he had to remain present for some other programmes happening at the same time. He said nothing much should be read into this. BJP had then said Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders were defaming him and questioning his credibility.
Notably, Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule had exactly 15 days ago hinted at "two big political explosions" in the next 15 days.