The decision was taken by the party chief, Sharad Pawar after a the party"s newly elected legislators met in Mumbai. Senior NCP leader, Praful Patel announced the decision in a press conference in the evening.
The 65-year-old Bhujbal has to fight competition from strong contenders including state NCP chief RR Patil along with the nephew of party supremo, Ajit Pawar.
Bhujbal has been the deputy chief minister from Oct 18, 1999 to Dec 23, 2003 and was reappointed Dec 4, 2008, for a second term.
However, this has not gone well with the supporters of Ajit Pawar and have started a protest.