MUMBAI: The love-hate relationship between BJP and Shiv Sena is in the open yet again.
The old allies, after winning the Assembly elections together, are fighting over formation of government, with Shiv Sena insisting on rotational Chief Ministership, a condition not acceptable to BJP.
On Tuesday, the tussle took a new turn when Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut threatened to explore "other options", despite which BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis asserted that he would be the Chief Minister for entire 5-year period.
In a no-filter attack on BJP, Raut said on Tuesday, "There's no Dushyant Chautala here whose father is in jail. We do politics of truth in Maharashtra. if someone tries to keep us away from power, it is not called politics of truth. We are seeing what's happening and how low people can stoop."
It was a clear reference to the way BJP cobbled up a government in Haryana where it fell six short of the magic number but formed the government with the help of Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), whose leader Dushyant Chautala was made Deputy Chief Minister.
Dushyant's father Ajay Chautala, who is serving a sentence in Tihar jail after conviction in a corruption case, was released on a 14-day furlough soon after Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Dushyant announced their tie-up in Delhi on October 26.
Amidst Shiv Sena's unhappiness, NCP and Congress are wooing the party. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal extended proposals of support to Sena.
Even Congress state President Balasaheb Thorat told mediaperson, "We have not received any communication from the Sena on this yet. However, if it comes, we shall put it up with the party high command for a decision in the matter".
These are the "other options" Raut threatened the BJP with on Tuesday. Meanwhile, launching a psychological assault, Sena supporters put up posters of Aditya Thackeray across Mumbai, calling him the next Chief Minister.
BJP's trouble with Sena is age-old, but this time the discourse has been a notch shriller. This public spat dates back to the pre-2019 general election when "Saamna", the party mouthpiece wrote editorials criticizing the Modi government.
The reason the pre-poll alliance announcement before general election between the two parties got delayed because Sena wanted an assurance on Maharashtra polls as well. Now, the Sena is reminding BJP of its "agreement" and alleging it of "stooping" to a new low.
Sena, which won 56 seats in the Assembly polls, claimed its tally now reached 61 with the support of five more MLAs. This is regardless of the offers from Congress and NCP that will be willing to let go off the Chief Ministers post to the Sena, a first in many years. Meanwhile, BJP which has 105 seats in the 288-member House isn't sitting idle either. Meanwhile, two Independent MLAs -- Ravi Rana (Badnera in Amravati district) and Kishor Jorgewar (Chandrapur) have pledged their support to the BJP.
But in the face of a Sena that is emboldened with support from Congress, NCP and a fare share of independents, the BJP's ally trouble with Aditya Thackeray's party is not letting it sit comfortably.