Mumbai: The tensions between erstwhile allies – Bharatiya Janata Party and Shiv Sena – have escalated as Uddhav Thackeray has been continuously hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Responding to the Shiv Sena chief's barbs, BJP Maharashtra president, Devendra Fadnavis, on Wednesday said the electorate of the state will give a befitting reply to Shiv Sena. He also derided the fact that the name of the PM's father was dragged into an editorial in Shiv Sena's mouthpiece "Saamana" on Tuesday.
The BJP leader expressed confidence that his party is going to form government in Maharashtra with clear majority.
On Tuesday, the editorial had said that even Modi's father, Damodardas, could not have won majority in Lok Sabha elections without Shiv Sena's support.
Shiv Sena had further threatened to expose the "fraud" committed by its one-time ally BJP. "They (BJP) want to know who is our real enemy? The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party are like dead snakes and pose no threat to us," it said in a scathing edit in the party mouthpiece "Saamana".
"It is our one-time friend's 'fraud' we shall expose before the people of Maharashtra. It is our duty," it said, referring to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In an interview with Sanjay Raut, executive editor, "Saamana", Uddhav had wondered if a "chaiwala" (tea-vendor) can become prime minister, why couldn't he become the chief minister of Maharashtra.
"If a 'chaiwala' can become the prime minister, I can definitely become the state chief minister," Uddhav said.
Excerpts of the interview, which will appear this morning - the day Maharashtra goes to elect 288 legislators - were released by an aide to Thackeray here on Tuesday night.
The statement comes barely three weeks after Thackeray openly declared his chief ministerial ambitions at a public function.
However, it was not well received by the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership and it finally resulted in the severing of the 25-year-old alliance on September 25.
"For 25 years, we have been together, we have seen victories and routs. When the alliance collapsed, I felt deeply pained, but I did not succumb," Thackeray said in the interview.
Taken aback by the interview, the state BJP leaders said they were aware of Thackeray's secret ambitions which was one of the reasons they were bargaining for more seats in the elections.
Incidentally, unlike the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has strategically avoided projecting anybody as the chief ministerial candidate in the state elections, though there are many probables and hopefuls.
Prior to the latest barb on BJP, Uddhav had created a consternation when he compared the campaign by Team Modi with the attack on Maharashtra by the Bijapur general Afzal Khan's army.
(With Agency inputs)