For the first time in Maharashtra's history, a Chief Minister has been targeted not only by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but also the high-profile wife of the Leader of Opposition, sending out political ripples in the state.
Early on Monday, political circles were taken aback when professional banker Amruta Fadnavis - spouse of former Chief Minister and current opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis - suddenly threw a sharp dart at Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
The trigger was a December 14 tweet by Devendra Fadnavis when he slammed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's statement on Vinayak Damodar, alias Veer Savarkar, proclaiming: "One cannot become 'Gandhi' just by keeping his surname as Gandhi!"
Concurring with her hubby, Amruta Fadnavis belatedly said on Monday: "Very True! One cannot be a 'Thackeray' also by just putting 'Thackeray' surname after his name! One needs to be true, principle & should think for betterment of people & party members above his own family & power dynamics!", tagging Shiv Sena and Uddhav Thackeray for their attention.
Current ruling alliance partrner Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Spokesperson Nawab Malik told IANS in this regard: "The BJP leaders are scared of facing our government. So they push their women in front and peep from behind their sarees It was started by their top leaders, now Devendra Fadnavis has adopted the same methods."
Taking the high moral ground in the matter, Congress state spokesperson Sachin Sawant told IANS: "We will not react. It's not in our culture to make personalised attacks in politics, especially against women."
On the other hand, Shiv Sena spokesperson and legislator Manisha Kayande gave a razor-sharp tongue-lashing to Amruta Fadnavis.
"What's her locus standi? Has she lost faith in her husband who is Leader of Opposition since he lost power in 80 hours? As Devendra Fadnavis is already attacking the Chief Minister daily, is she now appointed the unofficial spokesperson by PM Narendra Modi, BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah and state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil as they failed to counter the Maha Vikas Aghadi government?" Kayande asked.
Interestingly, in the past month since the BJP lost power in the state, the party has been on a rampant breast-beating spree which would embarrass even a professional mourner.
The party has been continuously harping on how it was betrayed by the power-hungry Shiv Sena and Uddhav Thackeray who entered into an illegal alliance with the NCP-Congress, which was "against the public mandate", among other attacks.
Amruta Fadnavis, who was present at the surprise swearing-in of Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar government in the early hours of November 23, later congratulated the new Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister, saying: "You have done it!"
Amruta Fadnavis bids lyrical farewell
After the two-man BJP-led government collapsed in barely 80 hours, Amruta Fadnavis bid a lyrical farewell, with an ominous promise of bouncing back: "Palat ke aoongi, shaakhon pe khushbooen lekar; Khiza ke zadd me hoon, mausam zara badalne de." (I promise to return, with all branches fragrant; I am prevailed by autumn, just let the season change)".
On another occasion, in the same vein, she had slammed the Sena for what she termed as "The Hypocritical face of betrayal & height of Nepotism".
"It's my view as a common citizen - so many of us voted Shiv Sena only because they were alliance partners of BJP!", she said.
On December 8, she again attacked the Sena amid reports that many trees would be chopped in Aurangabad for a memorial to the late Balasaheb Thackeray, saying: "Hypocrisy is a disease. Get well soon, Shiv Sena! Tree cutting - at your convenience or allowing tree cutting only when you earn commission - unpardonable sins!!"
However, given the sensitivity of the matter, most BJP leaders have maintained a safe distance from the issue.