Speculation around the purported meeting between home minister Amit Shah and NCP leaders Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel in Ahmedabad continued to swirl a day after Shah cryptically said “everything need not be made public,” with Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut first confirming the meeting on Monday morning and later denying it and Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil indicating there was nothing unusual about such a meeting. Asked about the meeting, Raut initially said, “Why worry? Can’t a senior MP meet the home minister?” By 2pm on Monday, however, he had put out a tweet categorically denying any such secret meeting had taken place. Patil, on the other hand, said, “A meeting does not necessarily have to be to discuss politics. It can go beyond politics.”

Though NCP has denied the meeting took place, the buzz has gained traction as it comes amid tensions in the Maha Vikas Aghadi over controversies the state government is embroiled in.

Anil Deshmukh not an Accidental Home Minister says NCP Leader Nawab Malik

Raut had in his column in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna on Sunday called NCP’s Anil Deshmukh an aciidental home minister and tensions between NCP and Sena have been escalating ever since the MVA government has been at the receiving end of the opposition attacks after a car laden with explosives was found outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house, the murder of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiren, the arrest of the disgraced cop Sachin Waze and allegations of extortion and corruption made by former city police chief Param Bir Singh against Deshmukh.

The unease over Raut’s criticism of Deshmukh also deepened on Monday with leaders of both Congress and NCP saying he had “exceeded his brief” and Congress minister Balasaheb Thorat saying his party would bring the matter to the notice of CM Uddhav Thackeray. Raut had, among other things, written that the MVA government had no mechanism for damage control and thus had faced huge embarrassment after Singh alleged Deshmukh had given Waze a target of mobilizing Rs 100 every month. Thorat, who is revenue minister, said, “Raut’s comments are uncalled for and in bad taste. We will take it up with the CM.

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