The short journey since December 5 has already proven to be too long, and in large measure, quite irritable for senior partner BJP, thanks to the unending supply of Shiv Sena's poisoned darts mercilessly fired through its party mouthpiece - Saamana and Dopahar Ka Saamana - in Marathi and Hindi respectively.

Since the days of the founder-patriarch of the Shiv Sena, the late Bal Thackeray, all political parties dreaded his barbs - both verbal and through the edit columns of the two dailies.

The trend continues unabated, but seems to hurt its coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party now more than ever before almost as if Saamana has donned the role of 'the main opposition' in Maharashtra.

In recent times, Shiv Sena, through Saamana, has been at the forefront of criticizing senior BJP leaders, from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, certain Cabinet Ministers, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and select team members, as well as the BJP brand of politics.

The party did not shy away from commenting on Modi's controversial monogrammed suit which is now up for auction, the centre's economic policies, taking foreign VVIPs to Gujarat in a bid to overshadow Maharashtra or even the BJP's planned adventure in the ongoing Bihar political crisis.

The latest dart virtually compelled Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to clarify in Mumbai recently that the BJP was "keeping off" the affairs in Bihar and would wait for the elections to secure the peoples' mandate.

The story is the same in Maharashtra where it bitterly criticized plans to carve out a separate Vidarbha state - the BJP's declared agenda in pursuance of its small states policy, an alleged move to sever Mumbai and reducing its economic importance and the latest on crime situation following the brutal attack on senior Communist leader Govind Pansare in Kolhapur this week.

The last one also hit the bull's eye as Fadnavis happens to wield the critical home portfolio. A state BJP leader, requesting anonymity, conceded that the Shiv Sena barbs through its mouthpieces "hurt badly", but there was little it could do, as other larger issues like freedom of expression and media were involved.

"Everybody has a right to air grievances, but in appropriate forums. At various levels, we have requested the Shiv Sena leadership to take us into confidence before going public with its grievances," the BJP leader said.

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