Why has Uddhav Thackeray been so tough on the BJP? The sociological subtext to the story is that the Marathi manoos does not like being dictated to by Gujarati strongmen. Particularly when the Gujaratis are seen to be so high-handed. The Marathi press has been full of stories of the “slights” inflicted on the Sena leaders by the new Modi-led BJP. The brash style of Amit Shah in particular has apparently riled the Sainiks. Kumar Ketkar, chief editor of Dainik Divya Marathi, says “the average Marathi person has some amount of animosity and resentment against Gujaratis, who were seen as the prosperous community owning mills, while the locals were the working class in these ventures”.
The BJP, on its part, denies any suggestion of an “insult” by the leadership. Rajiv Pratap Rudy, general secretary in charge of Maharashtra, admits the local press has been making much of the recent BJP-Sena seat squabbles, saying the latter has been “taken for granted” and been “sidelined”. But he points out that Shah went to Matoshree without a formal invitation, paid tributes at the samadhi of Bal Thackeray and his wife, and spoke to Uddhav on the phone.