Amid strain in ties with alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena has called it a 'principal enemy' and praised Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.
On the eve of the Devendra Fadnavis government's third anniversary, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, it is part of the Maharashtra government 'just for the sake of it'.
The MP also said that they were in the government for the sake of it. "The BJP owns the government. Instead of hitting out at the Congressand NCP, the BJP targets the Sena. They (the BJP) are thus our principal enemy," Raut told reporters in Nashik.
Praising Rahul Gandhi, Rahu said there has been a substantial changein Congress leader. "A leader is one who is accepted by people. There is a substantial change in Rahul Gandhi since 2014. People like to listen to him now."
The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has begun preparations for the Lok Sabha and assembly polls of 2019 and it is ready to fight elections.
Meanwhile, in a clear bid to hurt the BJP where it could hurt the most, the Shiv Sena has decided to contest from at least 25 seatsin the Gujarat Assembly elections due in December. In the remaining constituencies, the party will support Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, the face of the Patel quota agitation.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said the cabinet reshuffle will take place before the winter session of the statelegislature, and Rane, who quit the Congress recently to form his own outfit, will be inducted into the cabinet.