Explaining what makes nephews turn against their uncles, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray launched a veiled attack on estranged nephew Raj, saying nephews get 'tickled' when they see their uncles being hailed.
"Leadership goes into their heads. When they see their uncles being hailed by the masses, they get 'gudgulya' (tickled)," Thackeray said, in reply to a query on the rise of nephews in Maharashtra's political families -- for instance, Raj Thackeray, Ajit Pawar (Sharad Pawar's nephew) and Gopinath Munde's estranged nephew Dhananjay.
"He (Raj) is the one who broke away from us. He was moulded in Matoshri (the Sena chief's bungalow in suburban Bandra)," Thackeray said, in an interview to a Marathi news channel.
When asked if he thought Raj would return, Thackeray said, "Wanting (for Raj to return) is one thing. But after all, it is the Thackeray blood (in him)."
Thackeray pointed out that it was Raj who once said that if ever politics impedes his relations with cousin Uddhav, he would leave politics.
"I don't have to look towards Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. I have my Shiv Sena," he replied to another query on what he thought of the party founded by Raj six years ago.
"Leadership has become a cheap commodity now. Anyone can become a leader," he said.
In another interview recently, Thackeray had said nephews (in Maharashtra politics) have no great talent. "But they remain close to the centre of power -- the uncle and take a ring-side view of politics and people. They get intoxicated by the delirious crowd which follows the leader, the celebratory mood at public meetings and so forth," Thackeray had said.
In the latest interview, aired nine days ahead of the February 16 elections to Mumbai's civic body, which his party controls, Thackeray said it was not justifiable to blame the Sena for all ills afflicting India's financial capital.
"Why blame Shiv Sena for everything? Did the Sena dig potholes in the city?" Thackeray said. "How will the civic
infrastructure cope with the burgeoning population in the city?" he said.
"What can we do if a pipeline bursts," the Sena chief said. "All the problems we face are due to people who have come from outside," he said, sounding like his nephew, whose views against north Indian migrants are well known.
On politics in general, Thackeray said there were no towering personalities like Sardar Patel left today. "Now, there are only Liliputs, no leader of political stature," he added.