Amid speculation that Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat spoke to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray to coax him to join the Maharashtra government, one of its senior leaders on Monday struck an optimistic note saying an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is possible.
Earlier, the Sena in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana had ruled out any reconciliation with its former ally saying the ruling party has "shattered the hopes of the people" after what transpired during the trust vote in Maharashtra assembly.
"We do not need to sit and think over what went wrong (with the BJP) during the assembly elections and what happened thereafter. But whoever has brought Maharashtra to a state where it has to repent for the misdeeds that happened lately, should not look towards the Sena with hope in the future," the party had said.
Senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi while speaking to reporters hinted that his party may come together with the BJP after paying tributes to late Sena chief Bal Thackeray on his second death anniversary at Shivaji Park in Mumbai.
"There is a strong likelihood of the Shiv Sena coming together with the BJP on the principles of Hindutva. But we do not know when that will happen. (Sena chief) Uddhavji will take a final call," said Joshi.
Maharashtra will "definitely" see a Sena chief minister in the future, he said but added that "some things take time."
"I was fortunate enough to become Balasaheb's shadow during his lifetime. A man of his stature will not be born again. It is unfortunate that the previous government failed to provide a 'smarak' (memorial) for the late Sena chief," Joshi said.
The Shiv Sena has planned a show of strength on the second death anniversary of the Sena patriarch Balasaheb Thackeray at Shivaji Park on Monday.
Party sources said it would be an opportunity to assert Sena's pride after the fall out with BJP.
However, it's not clear if chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and other BJP leaders will attend the event.
Reacting to the development, senior BJP leader Vinod Tawde said he was "unaware" of any calls made to Uddhav by the RSS chief and added that Sena should have joined the state government.
"I am surprised to hear about the RSS chief's call (to Uddhav Thackeray). I have no idea about it. As far as the Sena is concerned, we have always felt that they should have come together with us in the state government. I don't know why did they appoint a Leader of Opposition in the assembly," Tawde said?.
In the editorial, the Sena had said that the BJP has been subjected to much more mudslinging than the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) during their rule in the state in last 15 years.
"The BJP has received much more flak for the drama that happened on the day of trust vote than what the Congress and the NCP received during their 15-year tenure in the state. The dreams and hopes of the people of state have been shattered. Who will pay for this now?" it asked.
BJP's former ally said that people voted for change in the assembly elections, but the aspirations of the people will remain unfulfilled as the BJP has formed a government with the support of the NCP.
"Have people really got a chance to dream for the development of Maharashtra? The Congress rule has ended but like before, New Delhi will play a bigger role in the state today as well," it said.
"We will work towards keeping Maharashtra a united state and continuously work towards its progress with our strength of 63 MLAs," it added.