Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut deleted a tweet after BJP MP Poonam Mahajan's response to it. (File)
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut deleted a tweet this morning after BJP MP Poonam Mahajan's acrid response to it, in the middle of bitter sparring between their parties.
Mr Raut had shared an old RK Laxman cartoon published in the Times of India, which showed BJP leader Pramod Mahajan - a former Union Minister who died in 2006 - taking instructions from Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
Poonam Mahajan, Pramod Mahajan's daughter, posted a tweet that was also called out as sexist by many users.
"The two 'men' (mard) formed an alliance for Hindutva and Raut should not share 'unmanly' (namard) cartoons," Ms Mahajan wrote in Marathi.
Poonam Mahajan is the daughter of Pramod Mahajan, who was among the BJP's top leaders before he was shot by his brother over a family dispute.
Mr Raut later said Poonam Mahajan does not need to feel hurt and that the Thackeray and Mahajan families share very close ties. But he took pot-shots at the BJP MP too.
"Have I published that cartoon? The cartoon was created by R K Laxman and published on the front page of the Times of India. What was the position of the Shiv Sena then? I did not comment on Pramod Mahajan. Pramod Mahajan was a BJP leader at that time. Balasaheb liked him a lot and we were all connected to him. I don't know where his daughter Poonam is these days. She is a BJP MP. But you have seen that in BJP, whether it's Pramod Mahajan's family, Gopinath Munde's family, they all have been pushed into the side lines. I want to ask Poonam where are you in the BJP? But I don't want to comment on her personally. If she did not like this cartoon, then I am also uncomfortable. We have great ties with that family," Sanjay Raut added.
The BJP and the Shiv Sena, allies for 25 years until they fell out over government formation in Maharashtra, have been attacking each other over Sena chief and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's comment on the BJP using Hindutva for opportunistic politics.
In his address at a party event on Sunday, Mr Thackeray also said the Sena had "wasted 25 years in alliance with the BJP" and that it has left the BJP but not Hindutva.
Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis yesterday hit back, saying the Sena's Hindutva was merely on paper and didn't go beyond speeches.
Mr. Fadnavis said it was under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that a Ram temple was being built in Ayodhya. "Where were you in the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign? We took the bullets and the lathis," said the former Chief Minister.