Former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Sunday skipped his scheduled speech at the Nationalist Congress Party’s national convention in Delhi, ANI reported.

The party’s eighth national convention was held at the Talkatora Stadium in the national capital.

The state leader of opposition reportedly walked out of the meeting midway in front of party chief Sharad Pawar, just moments after former Maharashtra minister Jayant Patil was given a chance to speak.

When Ajit Pawar was called to give his address, he was not seen on stage, according to The Indian Express. Party leader Praful Patel told the audience that he had gone to the washroom, and would speak when he got back. However, the speech did not take place.

Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Sonia Dohan denied reports that Ajit Pawar had left the meeting. “While returning from the washroom, the media accosted him and there was a delay of about seven to eight minutes for him to return to the stage,” she said. “But he did return.”

In August, reports had said that differences had emerged between Patil and Pawar as the former wanted to be named as the state leader of Opposition. The former state water resources minister said that he wanted to be appointed to the post, but added later that he himself was party to the decision to name Ajit Pawar, the Hindustan Times reported.

Patil had denied being upset with the Nationalist Congress Party leadership and had also refuted reports that he may join the Bharatiya Janata Party with his supporters.

Meanwhile, Sharad Pawar, in his speech, alleged that the BJP was trying to divert the attention of young persons from matters such as unemployment by bringing up subjects about religion. “Karl Marx said religion is the opium for the masses,” he said, according to The Indian Express. “We will have to be alert and careful about the Union government’s divisive policies on the basis of religion, caste.”

Pawar also said that there was a need to explore whether it was possible to bring together like-minded political parties who were willing to work towards challenging the “communal politics” of the BJP.