The war of words between the Shiv Sena and BJP took a turn for the worse with the Sena likening the national party to Pakistan-backed intruders.
Allies in the state government, the Sena and BJP have had a rocky relationship that has been growing more acrimonious over time. The latest spate of barbs has been over the Sena frequently criticising the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in its mouthpiece ‘Saamna’.
Following local BJP leaders threatening to burn copies of the publication, the Sena hit back in an editorial, comparing the BJP to Pakistan-backed intruders and Congress leaders.
“So far, only such people have threatened to burn the Saamna. Now, if these self-proclaimed Hindutva leaders are going to threaten the same, then this is a fool’s paradise,” the article read.
Taking another potshot, it added, “…We are going to request the Centre to include at least five to six mental asylums in each smart city it builds.”
The BJP had earlier lampooned Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in an article in the party’s monthly magazine ‘Manogat’, prompting Sena workers to threaten burning copies of the magazine.
BJP state spokesperson Madhav Bhandari had written an article, slamming the Sena for its constant criticism of the BJP governments at the Centre and state. The article likened Thackeray to a comical character in the Hindi film ‘Sholay’ – a jailor played by comedian Asrani.
Though he did not name the Sena or the Saamna, city BJP chief Ashish Shelar on Sunday indirectly threatened that the party would burn effigies of Sena leaders and damage its publication.
For its part, the Sena countered that such an act would amount to disrespecting Modi and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the BJP’s ideological fountainhead.
“The Saamna stands for Hindutva and burning the Saamna means setting fire to the ideology of Hindutva. The Saamna propagates the RSS’ views; burning it down means killing Modi’s ideological roots,” the editorial said, instead daring the BJP to burn down militant hideouts in the insurgency-troubled Jammu and Kashmir.