Uddhav Thackeray had called the meeting, sources said, to formulate the Sena's response. Discussions are still to conclude. A top leader denied any word from the BJP that ministers from allied parties would be included soon in another cabinet reshuffle. The Sena, sources said, is now primarily discussing whether it will continue to remain a part of the BJP-led national alliance NDA or not.
Asked which way the Sena is inclined, its senior leader Eknath Shinde told reporters, "We are not worried about the reshuffle. Uddhav Thackeray is equipped to take a decision on this."
This is not the first time the Shiv Sena has talked about ending it. In a choppy relationship ever since the BJP emerged ahead of the Shiv Sena as the top party in Maharashtra in the 2014 national election and then assembly elections the same year, the Sena has frequently resorted to much brinksmanship, keeping up a steady stream of criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policies.
The Shiv Sena participates in the government both at the Centre and in Maharashtra. It has one cabinet minister in the Modi government and has for months suggested that it should have greater representation in the union council of ministers as the BJP's largest partner in Parliament. The Sena has 18 Lok Sabha MPs and three members of the Rajya Sabha.
The BJP's Maharashtra government will be in a minority if the Shiv Sena withdraws support and would have to look for the backing of Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party, which Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reportedly does not favour.
Today, Sena leaders accused the BJP of speaking to allies only when it needs their support. "The BJP reached out to us during the Vice Presidential elections but not during the cabinet reshuffle," said a senior Sena leader.
He pointed out that the Shiv Sena had warned its partner against appointing Suresh Prabhu as Railway Minister, vindicated that he was removed in yesterday's reshuffle. Suresh Prabhu was in the Shiv Sena for years, but was sent to the Rajya Sabha by the BJP after the Sena refused to do so.
An editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamna took a swipe at the BJP over the reshuffle, saying experiments continue even after three years of the Narendra Modi government. People are still waiting for "achhe din", it said.
Officially, the party has insisted that today's meeting at Mr Thackeray's house was called to discuss strategy for gram panchayat or village body elections to be held soon in the state.