Rather than rebutting Shiv Sena barbs, Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde faction seems to have decided to focus its attacks against Nationalist Congress party founder Sharad Pawar. The person deputed to do so is Deepak Kesarkar, a former close aide of Pawar and now principal spokesman of Shinde. Interestingly, Kesarkar attended the NDA meeting held in New Delhi to finalise strategy for the election of its Presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu. Kesarkar was first elected to the legislative assembly on an NCP ticket from Sawantwadi in Konkan. He later switched sides to join the Sena and was a minister of state for home in the previous BJP-Sena government led by Devendra Fadanvis. A non-assuming person, Kesarkar is known for his sharp tongue. In his fresh onslaught, Kesarkar has accused Pawar of engineering every past split in the Sena, including the one started by firebrand leader Chhagan Bhujbal in 1991. According to Kesarkar, once Pawar himself had told him that Narayan Rane had walked out of the Sena because of Pawar himself. “Pawar was instrumental in making Raj Thackeray desert the Sena,” Kesarkar says. Pawar, architect of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government led by Uddhav Thackeray, is perceived as the main adversary by the BJP and now the Shinde faction. Attacks against him are expected to intensify further.