New Delhi: Hours before the crucial meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday made a sly remark that left everyone baffled on whether Shiv Sena-NCP tie-up in Maharashtra was only a rumour.

Responding to a question asked about the Sena being in talks with the NCP to form the government, one of India’s most astute politicians Pawar, in a single word, countered, “Really?”

Sonia Gandhi’s Congress had been wary of a tie-up with its ideological rival Sena, but she overlooked the differences to seek an opportunity to keep BJP out of leadership in one of the most crucial states.

One of BJP’s oldest ally-turned recent rival Shiv Sena reached out to the Congress-NCP alliance for combined support to form Maharashtra government after a massive post-poll showdown with the BJP caused the alliance to collapse.

“BJP-Shiv Sena fought together, we (NCP) and the Congress fought together. They have to choose their own path and we will do our politics,” Pawar said, speaking to reporters before the Winter Session of Parliament.

Sharad Pawar has been serving the role of a bridge between the Sena and the Congress to be able to form a three-way coalition for Maharashtra government.

The BJP’s disagreement with the demands of Sena which led to a prolonged tussle for government formation in the state, eventually ending up in President’s rule.

The BJP-Sena disagreement even featured in PM Modi’s address to the NDA allies on Sunday after the Sena didn’t even attend the NDA meeting ahead of the winter session of Parliament that started today morning.

The saffron alliance had secured a comfortable majority by winning 105 and 56 seats, respectively, in the 288-member Maharashtra assembly, while the Congress and NCP had won 44 and 54 seats respectively.