Mumbai: In the wake of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) massive electoral victory in Delhi, the war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena is intensifying in Maharashtra.

A day after Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Wednesday, “Those who stand with you during bad times are your real friends."

The two parties are in a ruling coalition.

Fadnavis told reporters in Nashik, “Will Uddhav Thackeray be held responsible for Sena’s defeat in some gram panchayat (village council) elections?" Thackeray had criticized Modi after AAP humbled the BJP in Delhi’s 70-seat assembly, whittling its numbers down to just three as it swept the rest of the 67 seats.

In a reference to the so-called Modi wave that helped the BJP win the 2014 general election and subsequent assembly elections, Thackeray compared the AAP victory to a tsunami, saying, “A tsunami is mightier than a wave."

The party backed up the comments in an editorial in Wednesday’s edition of its mouthpiece Samana, saying: “If it is (AAP leader Arvind) Kejriwal’s win then BJP must ask itself whose defeat it is."

In an interview to Marathi news channel Zee 24 Tass, Sena leader Sanjay Raut defended Thackeray’s remark and said, “Uddhavji’s comments were friendly advice to the BJP and not criticism of the Prime Minister."

“After the BJP’s defeat in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, when ally after ally left the BJP, Sena firmly stood behind the BJP," he said, adding that his party did not need lectures in honouring commitments in friendship.

The verbal clash reflects other difficulties in the partnership, including complaints by a Sena minister that he was not being given enough work, a Sena leader said on condition of anonymity.

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