Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray has expressed concerned over the manner in which the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is diminishing.
Thackeray's concerns - aired in an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana here Monday - come in the wake of the recent parting of ways between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal-United, who were partners in Bihar and also the NDA.
"They not only broke the 17-year old strong alliance, but the workers of the two parties even broke each others' heads in its aftermath. This is not good," said Thackeray.
Referring to senior BJP leader L.K. Advani's call to the party to get "new friends/allies", Thackeray said friends do not grow on trees to be so easily available.
"Friends have to be nurtured for years with trust and service; they are not like seasonal crops which can be grown with water and fertilizers and then be plucked for use," he pointed out.
However, he described Advani's call as significant as a similar call was made by the late Shyama Prasad Mookerji in 1952 when he attempted to unite all the non-Congress parties in the country.
Thackeray pointed out that though the BJP has made Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in-charge of campaigning for the 2014 elections, the ground reality is quite different.
"Is the BJP in a position to win the elections on its own strength? Who are its new friends, this must be made clear now," he said.
Thackeray recalled there was a time when the NDA had 20-25 parties in its fold and Advani's home proved too small for its leaders to meet and confabulate.
Now, with barely three parties - BJP, Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal - in the nest, even a table and four chairs are sufficient, Thackeray said, explaining the NDA's falling strength.
While BJP president Rajnath Singh has declared that Advani is the top guide and mentor for the NDA, what is Advani's position within the BJP and who will heed his advice, Thackeray wondered.
Hence, it was imperative to treasure old friends and strengthen old friends as it is virtually impossible to mend broken relations, Thackeray observed.