Among the VIPs who attended Uddhav Thackeray's mega swearing-in ceremony at Mumbai's Shivaji Park on Thursday was his younger cousin and political rival Raj Thackeray. The younger Thackeray attended the event with his family after he got a call from Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, inviting him for the oath ceremony.
Raj Thackeray, who wore a black kurta, was seen sitting on stage at the jam-packed venue. The appearance of the junior Thackeray could signal a thaw in ties between the estranged cousins.
Raj Thackeray, 51, had fallout with his cousin in 2006 after which he had formed his own political party.
Before his death, Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray chose son Uddhav over nephew Raj as his political heir, prompting a family feud.
Raj Thackeray quit the Sena in 2005 and formed his own party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena or MNS.
Since then, the Thackeray cousins, once inseparable, taken potshots at each other in public, with both leaders trying to consolidate the Marathi vote in their favour.
The MNS had dented the Shiv Sena's chances in the 2009 Lok Sabha election.
Cut to 2019, Raj Thackeray and his party didn't contest the nation election but he campaigned against the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in Maharashtra.
In August this year, Raj Thackeray received support from his older cousin after he was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a case linked to the collapse of shadow bank Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services. "I do not expect any solid outcome from the inquiry," Uddhav Thackeray had said.
Uddhav Thackeray, 59, is the first member of the Thackeray family to become the Chief Minister and the third Shiv Sena leader to hold the top post after Manohar Joshi and Narayan Rane.