But, the Modi-Shah combine believed in Devendra's abilities and went by his reading of the situation. Devendra Fadnavis was pretty confident that Ajit Pawar would break the NCP and come out with a significant number of MLAs. But, by Monday morning itself, it became very clear that the NCP MLAs were going back to Sharad Pawar. The Supreme Court verdict sealed the fate of Fadnavis. On Monday evening, Ajit Pawar skipped a strategy meeting and it became clear that he was in two minds.
It is being said that the senior BJP leader had also warned that the efforts to split the NCP will go against the BJP. It will be seen as a war of supremacy between the Brahmins (Fadnavis is a Brahmin) and Marathas (Sharad Pawar is the tallest leader of the Marathas) and will bring back the memories of the Brahmin Peshwas vs Maratha Chatrapathis. This will affect the caste calculus of Maharashtra, Gadkari reportedly suggested. The party is now paying the price for ignoring Gadkari's advice.