Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray on Monday admitted to a virtual breakdown in communication with the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) national leadership.
He attributed this mainly to a "generational shift" in the BJP -- with which the Sena is allied both in the central and Maharashtra governments. Seasoned BJP leaders have been replaced by a younger lot, he said.
In the second of a three-part interview published on Monday in the party's mouthpieces Saamana (Marathi) and Dopahar ka Saamana (Hindi) ahead of his 56th birthday on July 27, Thackeray spoke at length with Executive Editor and MP Sanjay Raut.
There was a time when then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to regularly call up and discuss issues with the late Shiv Sena President Bal Thackeray, he said.
"Then there were Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde who continued to connect the Sena and BJP at the centre. Such great individuals are no more," Thackeray said.
He pointed out that the elder generation in the BJP - comprising people like Vajpayee, Advani and others - was out of politics.
"The generation changed and the new dispensation got power very quickly. But after stabilizing in office, they should look for open dialogue," Thackeray said.
The Sena chief, however, added that he enjoyed a rapport with Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis.
He said there is no bad blood between him and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, “but BJP should do something to establish a better co-ordination among bosses of BJP [in Delhi], the CM and us.”
The Sena leader also defended the Modi government’s move to go all out to advertise the work it has done in last two years.
“It is okay up to a certain extent to advertise its [government’s] achievements so that people of the country know where they are headed to,” he said.
“But this [advertisement] can continue only for some time. Ultimately, if you do not perform today, then tomorrow you can be in trouble,” Mr. Uddhav said.
Asked why he keeps attacking the government when his party itself shares power in Maharashtra and the Centre, the 56-year-old leader said, “Our stand about this government is very honest. We wish this government runs smoothly so that it can fulfil the promises it made to the people of the country.
Suggesting that the government is “going soft on terror”, Mr. Uddhav said though he was not an expert on the issue, he could feel the pulse of the people and the nation.