Politics is an art of constant realignment and building fresh narratives for public consumption. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar are holding opposite fronts in politics today. At such a time came the surprise development of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) booking Sharad Pawar in a money laundering case.

Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit Pawar has also been named in connection with a bank scam and the Narendra Modi government stands accused of political vendetta. The case is based on an FIR filed by the Mumbai Police naming Ajit Pawar and 70 others in a case of malfeasance in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut have backed Sharad Pawar and have linked the action by central agency to the upcoming Maharashtra Assembly election. Calling the Modi government “vindictive”, Rahul Gandhi said booking Sharad Pawar “reeks of political opportunism”. The BJP has naturally rejected the allegations of being vindictive and pursuing a political vendetta.

The equation between Sharad Pawar and Narendra Modi has soured in recent times. But this was not always the case. The bonhomie between Sharad Pawar and Narendra Modi is though old and came to the fore in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election. They warmed up to each other but fought the 2014 polls fiercely. Bonhomie resumed after the poll results.

It was the amount of confidence that Sharad Pawar had in Narendra Modi that the NCP announced unconditional support to the BJP in Maharashtra after it fell short of a majority mark and the Shiv Sena appeared to be driving a hard bargain.