Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar's invitation for lunch at his Baramati residence.
Modi will spend three hours in Baramati, the Pawar family bastion, on Saturday.
The Prime Minister has set aside 30 minutes for the lunch hosted by Pawar at his Govindbag residence at Katewadi. Sources in the NCP and BJP do not rule out the possibility of a separate meeting between the two leaders.
In fact, the NCP chief, who has been camping in Baramati, is personally taking care of all preparations for Modi's arrival.
While Modi will be accompanied by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, NCP leaders Ajit Pawar and Supriya Sule will also be present for the lunch.
Several top NCP and BJP leaders will attend the PM’s Baramati function and are also likely to be present at Pawar’s home.
Most of the functions Modi will attend in Baramti are related to the Pawar family. He will first visit Vidya Pratishthan, an educational institute founded by the NCP chief, and will then inaugurate a hall named after Pawar’s elder brother, Appasaheb Pawar, at Malegaon.
The PM will also address a farmers’ rally organised by Pawar.
The Baramati visit comes against the backdrop of growing tension between the BJP and ally Shiv Sena.
The BJP is especially upset with the Sena blaming Modi for BJP's defeat in the Delhi assembly elections.
The PM not attending the swearing-in-ceremony of Delhi chief minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal is a clear indication of Pawar's importance for the BJP.
The NCP had announced its support to the BJP government in Maharashtra before the Sena came on board.
This is Modi's second visit to Baramati in the recent past. The last time he was there was for an election rally during the Maharashtra assembly polls.