The Shiv Sena took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, saying they wondered why the coming together of 22 opposition parties gave him "shivers" and asked him not to live in an illusion that his government is "immortal".
Referring to the opposition's show of unity at a rally organised by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Saturday, the Sena, in an editorial in party mouthpiece ''Saamana'', said the West Bengal chief minister was taking the PM Modi-Amit Shah combine head-on.
"Most of the leaders who attended the rally, including Ms Banerjee, were once allies of the BJP under Atal Bihari Vajpayee's leadership and there is no need to ridicule them. PM Modi's government is not an enemy of the country but he should not live in an illusion that his government is ''amar'' (immortal)," the publication said.
Distancing itself from the coming together of several regional parties on one platform, the Sena, an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Maharashtra, however, defended their right to criticise the party in power.
Ms Banerjee had invited Uddhav Thackeray to the rally, but the Shiv Sena was the first to sound the poll bugle from its "own field" Maharashtra, it said.
"All those present on Banerjee's platform were secularists. The Sena is not pseudo-secularist. Our ideology is ''hindutva'' and we are firm on our stand on the issues of Ram temple and uniform civil code. The Kolkata rally could not have digested Shiv Sena's stand," the editorial said.
It said recently the prime minister gave a speech while boarding a tank (at L&T's gun-making facility in Gujarat). "Why did he (then) get shivers from the coming together of 22 opposition parties," it wondered.
It said the way the BJP has the right to stay in power by contesting polls, the opposition also has the right to expose the government and defeat it.
NDA partners like Ram Vilas Paswan, Nitish Kumar and Ramdas Athawale are against the construction of Ram temple and implementation of the uniform civil code, but they are happily sharing power with the BJP and are called "good" and "honest", it said in remarks laced with sarcasm.
Many faces in the current opposition, including Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu, DMK, Farooq Abdullah, Sharad Yadav, Arun Shourie, Yashwant Sinha and Gegong Apang, have been in an out of the BJP-led coalition, it noted.
"Even (BSP chief) Mayawati had once shared power with the BJP. None of them were then anti-nationals, but today they are referred so," the Sena said.
The prime minister should tolerate the opposition's questions on his governance, it added.