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Mumbai: The bitterness between the Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appears to be growing by the day as leaders from both the parties are increasingly indulging in acerbic attacks. The former has labelled the ruling outfit as ‘Kamalabai’ and has been called the ‘Penguin Sena’ in return.

‘Kamalabai’ is a reference to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) poll symbol- -Kamal or lotus, while the term ‘Penguin Sena’ is used by the opponents to deride the Thackeray-led Sena.

Bringing penguins to Mumbai was a pet project of Aaditya Thackeray, son of Uddhav Thackeray and chief of Yuva Sena, the party’s youth wing. Eight Humboldt penguins were brought to the city’s Byculla zoo from Seoul in South Korea in 2016.

But this verbal war is not just limited to the Thackeray-led Sena and the BJP alone, as the former has also been passing vitriolic remarks against the party’s rebel legislators, who are now part of the state government.

The Thackeray faction has been calling the group of rebel lawmakers led by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde as ‘gaddar’ (traitors) and taunting them with ‘50 khoke (boxes)’ remark, implying that each MLA of the Shinde faction got Rs50 crore to switch loyalties.

Leading the attack against the dissidents is Aaditya Thackeray, who last month dubbed state Health Minister Tanaji Sawant as ‘khekda’ (crab).

And this verbal exchange is expected to escalate further ahead of the crucial polls to the cash-rich Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which both the warring sides are vying to win.

The Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had collapsed on June 29 this year after a revolt by Shinde and 39 other legislators against the Sena leadership. Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister the next day along with BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis as his deputy. Of late, the Shiv Sena has started using the word ‘Kamalabai’ for the BJP. While Kamal is the election symbol of the BJP, ‘bai’ in Marathi means a woman.

It referred to the BJP with the name in its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ last month. It riled the BJP so much that its Mumbai unit President Ashish Shelar shot off a letter to Uddhav Thackeray, who is also the editor of ‘Saama - na’, and asked him whether his faction be called as ‘Penguin Sena’. PTI

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