Simmering tension between ruling alliance BJP and Shiv Sena in Maharashtra took a new turn on Wednesday, when Shiv Sena erected a poster showing Prime Minister Narendra Modi bowing before the late Bal Thackeray.
In a brazen taunt, the poster which was put up at Sena Bhawan in Dadar by the party's East Mumbai unit, shows Modi bowing reverentially before Thackeray. The lines accompanying the photo say: "(Have you) forgotten the days when your (now) proud necks bowed at the feet of late Balasaheb?"
According to Hindustan Times , the banners had photographs of senior BJP leaders and friends-turned-foes of the Shiv Sena, such as Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray and Congress leader Narayan Rane, with Bal Thackeray in happier times. The biggest space was devoted to a photo of Modi bowing with folded hands before Bal Thackeray.
The photographs of the banners went viral on social media forcing Matoshree – the residence of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray – to send out an order to take down the banners and a separate statement that dissociated the party from the hoardings.
"The Sena has nothing to do with the banner, which is not an authentic one. It doesn’t reflect the party’s views. Workers may have put it (up) in a fit of rage. We request media persons to not have any more discussions over it," the statement said.
While the hoardings were later taken down by the police, reports said posters have incensed BJP leadership.
It has been spell of rough weather between BJP and Shiv Sena from the time the two parties went through a bitter separation before the Maharashtra Assembly polls and then formed an uneasy alliance after the results were declared.
The alliance partners have clashed on a slew of issues, ranging from a nuclear plant in Jaitapur to the distribution of portfolios.
Sena's forcing of the cancellation of Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali's concerts in Pune and Mumbai, the recent paint attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former BJP member and storming of the BCCI office in Mumbai has been seen as further widening the chasm between the Hindutva allies.
(With inputs from PTI)
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