From being allies to opponents to almost coming to blows in the floor of the Maharashtra Assembly, the Shiv Sena-BJP relationship hit a new low on Tuesday with a scuffle in the floor of the legislative assembly between the two party's MLAs. Later in the day, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray hit back at the BJP saying the party should be equally aggressive with its own leaders at the centre which has not given any money to compensate farmers in spite of which the Maharashtra government is disbursing compensation to farmers.
But the Chief Minister's sharpest comment came during his criticism of how student protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act have been handled.
"There is a situation across the country where peace has been disturbed. The manner in which the police entered the campus in Delhi and students were fired on, I was reminded of Jallianwala Bagh tragedy. Are we trying to create a Jallianwala Bagh like situation in this country by trying to scare students? In a country or a state where the youth are angry there cannot be peace. Youth are our strength. We will soon be the country with the highest number of youth. Youth power is a bomb and I request the government not to ignite it," said Uddhav Thackeray.
Reacting to this comment, former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the comments were an insult to martyrs.
"Equating Jamia University incident with Jallianwala Bagh massacre by Chief Minister Udhhav Thackeray is big big insult to all the martyrs who have sacrificed their life for our nation," he said in a tweet.
These comments indicate a further deterioration in the Sena-BJP relationship as Sena and BJP MLAs almost came to blows in the Assembly which had to be adjourned over the BJP's vociferous targeting of the Sena over compensation to farmers. Newly-elected BJP MLA Abhimanyu Pawar, who was carrying cutouts of the Sena mouthpiece Saamna that had highlighted this issue, found himself being stopped by Sena MLAs, as the BJP members came into the well disrupting proceedings.
As he rushed towards the speaker's chair past the Chief Minister's seat, Sena MLA Sanjay Gaikwad took away his poster thinking he was trying to block Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. A scuffle ensued leading to the MLAs almost coming to blows. The situation was diffused with the intervention of senior MLAs from all parties.
Sanjay Gaikwad told NDTV, "We thought we will discuss Vidarbha's issues today. When Jayant Patil was answering questions they put the poster near his face. If they come and put the poster near Uddhavji should we just watch? That's why I snatched the poster."
Abhimanyu Pawar replied saying, "Shiv Sena MLAs snatched my banner. I was rushing towards the speaker and crossed the CM's seat and they thought I was rushing towards Uddhavji."
Uddhav Thackeray also took a dig at Mr Fadnavis after the Assembly was adjourned by advising him to show aggression with the centre including his own leaders to release funds for farmers' compensation. This came after Mr Fadnavis said, "This is letting down farmers as when you promised the help you did not say that the help would come from money given by the centre. We always raised this issue in the assembly and that is why it was adjourned."
Reacting to the issue of BJP MLAs bringing cutouts of the Saamna, Uddhav Thackeray said, "Those who said we don't read the Saamna held cutouts of the Saamna in the Assembly today. It shows what the truth is."
The Congress also came out in strong support of the Shiv Sena. Former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan told NDTV, "Even Prime Minister Modi had suggested that the MLAs and MPs should not come into the well and today BJP MLAs are going into the well of the house and not allowing the house to function.