Mumbai: Stung by the article in a BJP journal daring Shiv Sena to exit the alliance in Maharashtra, the Uddhav Thackeray-led party on Friday demanded a clarification from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis if it was his party's official stand and said his government would be in trouble if the lead partner chooses a course of self-destruction.
Reacting sharply to state BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari's article in the party fortnightly 'Manogat', Sena leader Sanjay Raut reminded Fadnavis that his government would have to depend on a party like the NCP if it opted to break the alliance.
The article, 'When are you taking talaaq Mr Raut', had dared the Sena to take "divorce" while enumerating the sacrifices BJP has made in past couple of decades-and-a-half to keep the tie-up intact.
The write-up in the BJP came in the backdrop of growing strains in the relations between the two parties with Sena mounting scathing attacks on the Centre through its mouthpiece "Saamana", often in a mocking tone.
Bhandari's article also drew an analogy from the Bollywood flick 'Sholay' in which a jailor character, played by Asrani, asks policemen to march in different directions, only to later on find that no one is standing behind him.
"Probably Raut and his party president (Thackeray) are apprehensive that if they do walk out of the government no one from the Sena would be left standing behind them," it stated.
Taking serious objection to the article, especially about personal references against him, Raut said criticism should be made on policy decisions and not on a personal level.
"Fadnavis should immediately clarify if the views expressed by a certain BJP leader (Bhandari) is the official stand of the party. We believe that such comments cannot be made on a personal level. Criticism should be made against policy decisions and not on a personal level. Making below the belt remarks only shows their level of thinking," Raut said.
"It seems they (the BJP) want to finish off their own government and thereby drown Maharashtra. We have taken the issue very seriously. Remember your government stands with our support. Otherwise, you have the option of taking the support of Chhagan Bhujbal, Sunil Tatkare and Ajit Pawar (referring to the NCP). People will answer you then," he added.
Sena MP Chandrakant Khaire said in Aurangabad that "people like Madhav Bhandari should be aware of the wrath of Shiv Sainiks over his comments against the Sena leadership."
Wrangling between BJP and Shiv Sena, long time allies and partners in Maharashtra and at the Centre, have assumed a shrill pitch in recent times.