After a six-year-long cold war, Raj Thackeray drove estranged cousin Uddhav home from Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital, where Uddhav went through an angiography earlier today.
The two politicians stood together, with Uddhav wearing a striped shirt and waving to the cameras before getting into his younger cousin's car - a photo-op that could shapeshift politics ahead of 2014, when Maharashtra will vote for its next government in addition to the general election.
Uddhav, who is the executive president of the Shiv Sena, was admitted to the Lilavati Hospital this morning after he complained of chest pain. The news reached Raj when he was on the road and he turned around and drove to visit his cousin. He returned this evening in his silver Mercedes with his wife Sharmila and his mother to escort Uddhav to the Sena home, Matoshree, in Bandra.
Raj then went into the family home with Uddhav and spent half an hour there.
Sources in the Shiv Sena that Raj's gesture is deeply appreciated and though it is too early to gauge political implications, a rapprochement could develop. Sources in Raj's camp are more cautious and say it's too early to think of any sort of political reunion.
Raj, who fell out with Uddhav and his father Bal Thackeray in 2006, formed his own Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
This is only the second time that the cousins are meeting since their high-volume disengagement. In 2009, Raj met Uddhav when he visited Bal Thackeray at Matoshree.
Party workers in the Shiv Sena would like to see Raj and Uddhav present a united front to challenge the incumbent combo of the Congress and Sharad Pawar's NCP