The Shiv Sena seems to be in no mood to be pacified by former ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that he won’t say anything against the Sena as tribute to its founder Bal Thackeray, the party came back with a scathing remark in its mouthpiece Saamana.
“We welcome the gesture [by Modi], but why did the alliance, which remained intact for 25 years, break at this time? Continuing the alliance by not taking matters too far would have been an appropriate tribute to Balasaheb,” an editorial in Saamana said on Monday.
The editorial is seen as the opinion of Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.
Uddhav had targeted the BJP on Sunday over comments by Modi and state party chief Devendra Fadnavis that there were people in Mumbai, and the rest of the state, who extorted money from the people.
Turning the tables, the Saamana editorial said, “The moneybags want to split Maharashtra for their selfish motive and they have thrown their might behind the BJP. They want to create separate a Vidarbha by splitting the state. People of Maharashtra will not tolerate this.”
Meanwhile, while addressing a rally in Buldhana, Uddhav likened the ongoing poll campaign in Maharashtra as an assault by Afzal Khan, a lieutenant of Adil Shah who invaded Shivaji’s kingdom, but was killed.
Criticising PM Modi, Uddhav asked the people whether they could see the “acche din” (good days) anywhere.
“What are they up to? First Modi comes to campaign, then his entire cabinet team is campaigning for votes in Maharashtra. They are like the army of Afzal Khan trying to conquer this state,” he said.
“But the people of Maharashtra will not tolerate such attempts [to divide the state]. They [team Modi] will be made to bite the dust,” he added.
Union minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari had earlier indicated that the BJP-Sena may come together after the election, if needed, but the bitterness between the former allies seems to run too deep.
On Saturday, Fadnavis had accused Sena of extortion. In response, Uddhav had taunted that the BJP was a partner in the `loot’ for the past 25 years.