Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Madha constituency in Maharashtra, party sources said on Wednesday.

An official announcement is expected later in the day, ending weeks of speculation on this count, the sources said.

A Rajya Sabha member from the NCP guardedly said that Pawar’s candidature for the Lok Sabha “is not yet finalized” but a senior state leader categorically confirmed the decision to IANS.

Pawar, 78, has been a three-time Chief Minister of Maharashtra besides being the Defence and Agriculture Minister in the Centre.

Now a Rajya Sabha Member, the development comes after Pawar repeatedly asserted in the past couple of years that he wanted to quit “electoral politics” and give space to gen-next in the party. But he hinted at a return to the election battlefield last week.

Earlier last week, Pawar had said that some of his party colleagues were insisting that he contest Lok Sabha election from Madha this time.

The constituency which is in Solapur district is currently represented in the Lok Sabha by NCP’s Vijaysinh Mohite Patil.

A seat-sharing talk between Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar on Wednesday remained inconclusive as there was no consensus on the eight Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra, a senior NCP leader Thursday said. According to the leader, who is privy to the talks, Congress general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge and senior NCP leader Praful Patel would hold the next round of talks.

Gandhi met Pawar at the latter’s 6 Janpath residence in New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss seat-sharing and other issues ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

(With agency inputs)