The development was not unexpected given the fact that the BJP and the NCP, which were the junior partners in the rival alliances, were uneasy over the dominance of the Shiv Sena and Congress respectively.

The appointment of Prithviraj Chavan, as Maharashtra Chief Minister less than four years ago, was described by a senior Congress leader as an ‘experiment’ based on his experience in the hope that it would galvanize the party.

But the way Chavan went about the task resulted in annoying many of his own partymen and also the NCP and its top leader in state, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, say observers.

"How can a government function when the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister are virtually not on talking terms and plotting against each other," said another senior Congress leader.

As regards Shiv Sena and the BJP, the ties were getting strained over the years with the BJP feeling that the Sena was not acting in the NDA spirit.

It is to be noted that the Sena twice voted against NDA's Presidential candidates. It voted for a "Marathi" Pratibha Patil and later on for Pranab Mukherjee.

The refrain of BJP leaders was that they were not getting the respect and warmth they deserved from the Sena leadership in the last few years.

Shiv Sena was always the 'elder brother' in the saffron alliance with BJP playing a second fiddle to the aggressive leadership of the late Sena supremo Bal Thackarey in state politics while it was the BJP occupying the prime place in national politics.

BJP wanted a level playing field in the state in the wake of the spectacular performance by the NDA under Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls.

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