Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday accused his rival and Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) president Uddhav Thackeray of attempting to destroy the careers of his own party leaders, reported PTI.

Shinde, the president of Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena, made the statement at a rally in Ratnagiri district’s Khed and at the same ground where Thackeray had addressed a gathering on May 5.

Both rallies are a major show of strength for the two factions in the Konkan division, which is considered to be the bastion of the undivided Shiv Sena, according to The Indian Express.

The Shiv Sena split in June after Shinde led a rebellion by a group of legislators against Thackeray’s leadership, precipitating the collapse of the previous Maharashtra government, run in coalition by the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress. Shinde was sworn in as the chief minister on June 30 with the Bharatiya Janata Party’s backing.

On Sunday, Shinde said he had never seen a leader who conspires with other political parties to destroy the political careers of his party members. The chief minister was referring to Thackeray’s decision in 2019 to join hands with the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party.

Citing Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray and Union minister Narayan Rane as examples of those who had quit the Shiv Sena, Shinde asked, “How will the party grow in such a situation?”

He also declared that he is not a “gaddar [traitor] but khuddar [a self-respecting person]”.

Naming party leaders such as Gajanan Kirtikar and Ramdas Kadam, Shinde said that they had worked hard to strengthen the Shiv Sena but Uddhav Thackeray calls them traitors. “There is a limit to exercise restrain,” he added.

The chief minister also said that Uddhav Thackeray should know that Balasaheb Thackeray, the founder of the Shiv Sena, was much bigger than just being his father and that he should stop using his name to gain sympathy.

“Uddhav Thackeray may be the heir to Balasaheb Thackeray’s wealth but not to the ideology which he has mortgaged to the Congress and the NCP to become the chief minister [in November 2019],” Shinde claimed. “I am the inheritor of Balasaheb’s ideology and legacy.”

Shinde also alleged that the Congress looted the country for 70 years but Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya Thackeray are asking people to vote for such a party.

Describing Thackeray’s rally in Khed as a circus, Shinde said that the former chief minister would repeat the same taunts and allegations across the entire state.

“I am well aware of his deeds and there is a limit to the tolerance of a man on how much criticism he can take,” Shinde added. “I expect they would not make me take that step.”

During his rally on March 5, Thackeray had accused the BJP of being the most corrupt party in the country and said that all opportunists are joining it to save themselves from corruption cases.