The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came under fresh attack from its ally Shiv Sena, which slammed it for creating a "trust deficit" by hobnobbing with Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in the run-up to the polls and asked it to mend its ways and follow "alliance dharma".
Read: BJP downplays Sena attack, calls it 'friendly advice'
In a hard-hitting editorial in mouthpiece 'Saamana', Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray asked BJP to adhere to the "dharma" of the alliance and cited example of Bal Thackeray "who had rejected the offer of BJP rebel Shakarsinh Waghela in 1996 to form government of Shiv Sena in Gujarat".
"...Modi's rise in Gujarat was possible because Bal Thackeray stuck to the dharma of alliance and did not align with Waghela...The BJP leaders who tried to reach out to the Sena deserters should read this history," Uddhav said.
Uddhav also stressed the BJP wanted Modi to become prime minister of the country but for that "BJP needs to create an atmosphere of trust".
"Our ideology of Hindutva is not to gain power. We don't don the garb of Hindutva in hunger for power and there is no room for betrayal in Hindutva. Our ideology is Hindutva and will continue to be so irrespective of anyone being with us or not," the editorial said.
Uddhav said, "If BJP wants power at the Centre with Modi as prime minister, it should create an atmosphere of trust. You don't get trust if you don't create one yourself for others."
The Shiv Sena president also said his party was capable of fighting its own battles. "If you sidestep and betray friends who have stood by you through thick and thin, you will be self-inflicting the label of betrayal."
He referred to some reports appearing in media, saying the BJP has adopted a new policy of "tying up with one regional party and carrying out backdoor deals with another".
The pointed attack came against the backdrop of former BJP chief Nitin Gadkari's overtures to Raj Thackeray and his proposal to MNS to not contest Lok Sabha elections to prevent consolidation of votes in favour of Congress.
The development stirred the politics in Maharashtra, with the Shiv Sena flexing its muscles over continuation of alliance.
This prompted top BJP leadership, including Rajnath Singh and BJP's PM hopeful Narendra Modi, to do firefighting by pacifying Uddhav.
Raj Thackeray has backed Modi's prime ministerial bid, but decided that the MNS will contest the elections.