After the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, all eyes are on the Thackeray cousins. The question being asked is - can Uddhav and Raj get over their enmity and help each other politically?
Sena executive president Uddhav faces the challenge of taking forward Thackeray senior's colossal legacy. Raj's six-year-old Maharashtra Navnirman Sena currently seems vision-less.
Indications are that their bitterness will grow.
According to MNS sources, Raj had been extremely upset after Thackeray's cremation on Sunday. He spent Monday at home, meeting his close aides.
According to the aides, he was upset both with his uncle's death and the manner in which the Sena repeatedly snubbed him.
"Most of the decisions were being taken by the close circle of Uddhav's supporters and he was not consulted," said an aide who did not wish to be identified. Raj had also felt that during the procession, some slogans were shouted as a taunt to him. He left the procession midway.
"All this was despite the fact that Raj has always been available for the family," the aide added.
In July, when Uddhav had been hospitalised following chest pains, Raj had rushed to the Lilavati hospital. He even drove Uddhav home, giving rise to speculations about a possible patch-up between the two. Later, Raj visited Thackeray's home Matoshree to check on his and Uddhav's health.
Sources close to Uddhav said there was no deliberate plan to keep Raj away.
"When Thackeray's body was being brought from Matoshree, Raj was a pallbearer. He later split and chose to walk. Uddhavji had called him along with brother Jaidev to participate in the last rites," said a Sena functionary.
MNS cadres are silent. "Our party and our leader held Balasaheb in high esteem and hence we kept a low profile and joined the Sainiks," said a party legislator.
"We have not talked of politics with Raj since he is yet to recover from the loss."