Sharad Pawar, a seasoned politician, knows that Ajit is a formidable leader with considerable following in the party. There are several MLAs who will side with him if the conditions are favourable. Also, he is hugely popular in Baramati region and is winning by very big margins. By being deputy CM and minister several times, he has a following of his own. If he is antagonised, he could emerge as another power centre among the Maratha community. Hence, Sharad Pawar might co-opt him rather than sideline him. By honourably rehabilitating, he would also eliminate groupism in the party.
Also, Ajit Pawar did not resign from the NCP and claimed that Sharad Pawar is still his leader despite supporting the BJP in the government formation. In fact, he is the biggest beneficiary of this whole sordid drama. He showed he can rebel and yet rejoin the party. He has got the corruption cases against him quashed by the BJP government. If he gets a plum post, he would be triply happy. He will still be a deputy CM