Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde seems to have changed his strategy vis-a-vis Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray and attacked him for criticising the rebel Shiv Sena leaders.
Shinde, whose rebellion with 39 MLAs of Shiv Sena led to the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led MVA government in June, had always evaded making pointed comments against Uddhav and his son Aaditya who have been calling the rebels "traitors and backstabbers".
"Instead of responding to the criticism my work will speak for himself," he used to say.
However, speaking to Marathi news channel ABP Majha on Monday night, Shinde appeared pulling no punches.
"He should know his age and speak accordingly. What we are today is because of the late Balasaheb Thackeray and his school of thought. But he and others drifted away from Balasaheb's thought for power which forced us to take this strong step (to rebel)," Shinde said when asked about Aaditya hurling "traitor" barb against the rebel MLAs.
Aaditya, a former minister, has held several rallies in Mumbai and parts of Maharashtra to reinvigorate Shiv Sena in view of Shinde's rebellion.
Taking a cue from Shinde, his cabinet colleague Gulabrao Patil on Tuesday questioned Aaditya's stature.
"I became active in Shiv Sena when Aaditya was in a swaddle. He is just 32 now. What right does he have to criticise us? Who is he?" Patil asked.
"He can be the heir to the property of late Balasaheb or of Uddhav Thackeray but he cannot claim the (party's) legacy. We carried the saffron flag on our shoulders for 35 years, but now they are criticising us," he said without taking Aaditya's name.