Decades of political friendship between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena may well be breathing its last with reports of both parties preparing to fight elections next year without the other surfacing.
It is learnt that while BJP president Amit Shah has asked party workers in Maharashtra to gear up to fight 2019 elections alone, Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray too told party mouthpiece Saamna in a recent interview that he will fight next year's elections on his own merit.
Tensions between the two parties have been simmering for years and in recent months, have flared. Shiv Sena's decision to abstain from voting in the no-confidence motion last Friday is beign widely seen in political circles as a message of defiance against BJP. That Saamna, in an article the very next day, praised Congress President Rahul Gandhi's speech attacking PM Narendra Modi was yet another prominent signal of love turning sour.
These though are just the recent signs in a tale of possible break-up. The biggest bone of contention was when Shiv Sena complained of getting fewer berths than other regional parties in the cabinet after 2014 elections. Bypolls have since been fought separately and accusations have flown thick and fast.
While BJP leaders like Devendra Fadnavis and Yogi Adityanath have slammed Shiv Sena from time to time, Thackeray's party has hit back at almost every political move of BJP and governance policy of the NDA government. From breaking alliance with PDP in Kashmir to demonetisation, from questioning EVMs to casting aspersions on treatment of alliance partners - Shiv Sena has been relentless in its onslaught against BJP.
Clearly then, the bonhomie shared between the two parties during the times of Atal Bihar Vajpayee and Pramod Mahajan of BJP and Bal Thackeray of Shiv Sena are long over. With PM Modi and Amit Shah on one side and Uddhav on the other, current tumultuous times in the relationship may well end in a historic political break-up.