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Home > News > PTI

Lokmat returns throne to Thackeray

August 29, 2006 16:38 IST

Marathi daily Lokmat on Tuesday returned the throne that Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray had sent to its office after the newspaper questioned Thackeray's criticism of a proposal to offer a golden throne for Shirdi Sai Baba.

"Balasaheb graciously accepted the silver-plated throne from Lokmat Group chairman Vijay Darda," the newspaper's executive editor Vivek Girdhari said.

The meeting took place at the Thackeray family's residence Matoshree in suburban Bandra at around 1.30 pm, Girdhari said.

Thackeray had criticised the Shirdi Trust's proposal to replace Sai Baba's silver throne with a gold one worth more than Rs 20 crore. The trust later put off the proposal following criticism from various quarters.

Stung by Lokmat's criticism, Thackeray clarified that the throne in his possession -- which was gifted to him by the Bharatiya Kamgar Sena, the workers' wing of the Sena -- was a "wooden one covered with silver foil".

Darda informed the Sena chief that by publishing the news and photograph about Thackeray, "our intention was not to hurt his sentiments".

"We were the first to support his crusade against the gold throne for Sai Baba. We just wanted to bring to his notice the incongruity in his stance against the golden throne and his possessing the silver throne, which we returned to him with due respect," he said.

"Thackeray spoke about the close ties that he shared with Vijay's late father Jawaharlal Darda," Girdhari said.

"I have seen you when you were a child," Thackeray told Vijay Darda.

Later, when Thackeray was asked by reporters if he would use the throne, Thackeray said, "I have another throne. Anyway, wherever I sit becomes my throne.

"A carpenter has been called to remove the silver foil on this throne," he said.

Vijay Darda told reporters, "The throne was in our possession for a few days and we have come here to return it to its rightful owner."

Asked if he would apologise to Thackeray over the episode, Darda said, "This [Matoshree] is my house. I can even quarrel here."

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