Sharad Pawar's abortive bid to attend the Third Front rally in Bhubaneshwar is the latest in a series of attempts at one-upmanship between the Congress and NCP.
Pawar has remained slippery for the Congress despite the two parties sharing power in Maharashtra for the last almost a decade and at the Centre for five years.
Being a former Congressman, Pawar knows the ways of the Congress and tries to extract the maximum from it even as the two parties are locked in a tussle for the "number one" position in his home state Maharashtra.
In fact, following the last Assembly elections, Pawar's party demanded Chief Ministership from the Congress, which instead gave four more ministerial berths to the NCP than those allocated to Congress.
At the Centre too, his party was the most vocal among the allies of the Congress and sometime after Manmohan Singh Government was formed NCP had firmly told the lead party of the alliance not to treat the UPA as its fiefdom.
Congress on its part had time and again appeared to keep Pawar in good humour and the way he became the BCCI chief, replacing Jagmohan Dalmiya, over three years back, was seen as an example of the backing of the ruling party.