Power politics was in full swing on Bal Thackeray's  death anniversary

Agencies
Sunday, 17 November 2019

"Balasaheb Thackeray raised his voice for the self-respect and pride of 'Marathi Manoos'. He was a courageous personality and a unique orator who enjoyed the endless affection of his supporters. We bow down to him," Sharad Pawar said.

Mumbai: Amidst the tussle to form the government in Maharashtra, power politics was in full swing on the 7th death anniversary of Shiv Sena founder late Balasaheb Thackeray, here on Sunday.

Congress-NCP pay homage to Bal Thackeray for the first time, through messages and by making personal visits to Shiv Tirth, the memorial at Shivaji Park in Dadar west.

The leaders of the BJP, Sena's former ally, also joined in to pay rich tributes to the late Bal Thackeray on his seventh death anniversary.

The day began with thousands of Shiv Sainiks from across Maharashtra queuing up at the Shiv Tirth to offer tributes to the charismatic leader, who died on this day in 2012.

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, who was in Pune for a party meeting, paid rich tributes to Bal Thackeray with whom he shared a warm and personal friendship.

"Balasaheb Thackeray raised his voice for the self-respect and pride of 'Marathi Manoos'. He was a courageous personality and a unique orator who enjoyed the endless affection of his supporters. We bow down to him," Sharad Pawar said.

Later, Nationalist Congress Party  state President Jayant Patil, former Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and senior leader Jitendra Awhad paid their respects at Shiv Tirth.

An erstwhile close confidante of the late leader, Chhagan Bhujbal was seen getting emotional and he later recalled the relationship he enjoyed with the late Bal Thackeray.

Congress leaders, including Bhai Jagtap, came and paid rich tribute and recalled Bal Thackeray's services to the state and the people of Maharashtra.

Subsequently, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, his wife Rashmi, sons Aditya and Tejas, other relatives and top party leaders visited Shivaji Park and offered floral tributes at the statue of Bal Thackeray.

Sometime later, former CM Devendra Fadnavis -- who earlier tweeted "Balasaheb Thackeray  has taught us self-respect" with a video -- accompanied by his former ministerial colleagues Vinod Tawade and Pankaja Munde paid floral tributes.

They did not go inside the Shiv Tirth memorial where several Shiv Sena leaders including Uddhav Thackeray were present, but quickly left as some Shiv Sainiks were seen shouting 'Mee punha yaeen' (I will return), the poll slogan of Devendra Fadnavis, and 'Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai', Sena's war cry.

Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said that Bal Thackeray had shown the path of 'Hindutva' to the party and the nation. "Shiv Sena had promised its own CM to him (Bal Thackeray), and you will see that dream being realised soon," Raut said.

The Congress- Nationalist Congress Party  and Shiv Sena are currently engaged in finalising their upcoming alliance before forming the state government.

A stunned BJP is still hoping that the Shiv Sena will have a change of heart and come around, but is simultaneously claiming that it will form the government despite having 105 MLAs, plus reportedly the support of 14 others, including Independents.

To give last touches to the alliance with Shiv Sena, Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi and Nationalist Congress Party  President Sharad Pawar are scheduled to meet in New Delhi on Tuesday, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar said.

Signalling a formal split, the Shiv Sena did not attend a crucial NDA meet on Sunday, while the party's MPs in the Parliament have been given a new seating arrangement with the Opposition for the winter session starting Monday.

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