MumbaiAfter Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said his party would love to join hands with a like-minded party in the future, the Maharashtra Congress said any decision on an alliance will be taken by its national leadership. However, the Congress also said the NCP should come clean on its relationship with the Shiv Sena. “It is good that the NCP has realised that it should join hands with us to avoid the division of secular votes. The decision about coming together will be taken by our party high command, but for that the NCP will have to first clarify what its relations with Shiv Sena is,” state Congress chief Ashok Chavan told HT. The state leadership of the Congress also questioned its former ally’s change of mind. “Why does NCP want to come closer to us after three years of hobnobbing with the BJP? Pawar has shared dais with the PM, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley and praised them. The party has now realised the change in political air, which has forced it to try to come closer to us. By reiterating that Pawar will play an important role in 2019, the party is making fun of itself,” another state leader said. Meanwhile, city unit of Congress held protests at Azad Maidan and a candle march at Juhu Chowpatty to mark the anniversary of note ban.Shiv Sena mum on Pawar meetA day after it came to light that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at the latter’s residence sometime ago, the Sena continued to maintain silence on the issue. Even as Pawar confirmed that such a meeting took place and made it clear that he would not support the BJP or the Sena for government, Thackeray has not refuted the claim. On the other hand, Sena insiders said the party leadership wanted to show that it was exploring all options since the BJP plans to induct former CM Narayan Rane into the state cabinet.Confirming that the meeting was held on the day Thackeray and his son Aaditya met West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, a senior Sena leader said, “We keep meeting political leaders. What’s new in that? We discussed many issues with him [Pawar], including the current political scenario. We made it clear that we will make our own strategy.”Meanwhile, Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ taunted NCP leader Praful Patel for saying that Pawar could be the next PM in 2019.