Indicating that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal may not be rejoining his former party, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Monday asked his one-time protege to "live happily" in the Sharad Pawar-led outfit.
After Bhujbal withdrew an eleven-year-old defamation case against the Sena chief last week, there was speculation that the OBC leader, sidelined in NCP for some time, was veering towards reconciliation with his old party.
Bhujbal, Maharashtra Minister for Public Works, had said he withdraw the case after a letter from Sena leaders who asked him to consider Thackeray's poor health and inability to leave his house.
"Like I have grown old, you have also not got younger. The hair on your bald pate will not come back and your suffocation within NCP won't stop," Thackeray said in an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"Had Bhujbal stayed in the Shiv Sena, he would have become Chief Minister and pests like Naroba (Thackeray's pet name for former Shiv Sainik Revenue Minister Narayan Rane) would not have come up," he said.
"The departure of colleagues mid-way has not affected us the last. When blood relations betrayed us, what can one say about other," Thackeray said in an apparent mention of nephew Raj Thackeray, who left Sena two years ago and formed his own party.
"However, be it Bhujbal or other shiv sainiks, our ties with them have been stronger than those with blood relations," Thackeray said.