Pooja Chauhan, a school teacher and a Shiv Sena leader, came to Matoshree as soon as she heard about Bal Thackeray's demise. Pooja, who was sitting on the streets outside Matoshree, spoke to rediff.com's Patcy Nair about what Thackeray meant to her
Balasaheb Thackeray is like God to us. If God is no more what will our condition be?
We did not celebrate Diwali this year because Saheb (as his followers call Thackeray) was unwell. We thought he would get better and then we can celebrate. Now he is no more (starts crying). We won't have Diwali this year as there is a death in the family now.
I am a born Shiv Sainik as my father was a Sainik and I have been in the party since my childhood. My children are also followers of the Shiv Sena.
I was fortunate to meet Saheb in 2010. Every year, during Saheb's birthday, I take all the ladies from my area for a teerth yatra (holy pilgrimage) to offer prayers for his long life.
In 2010, after completing the yatra, we came to meet Saheb and seek his blessings; I have a 45-minute recording with Saheb along with all the other women from my area.
Saheb always told us, 'Do 80 per cent social service and 20 per cent politics. Then only can you bring Shiv Sena ahead of every other party'.
After Saheb's death, we will follow (Sena executive president) Uddhav Thackeray, the party will still be strong; nothing will happen to it. Since the last year five years, Uddhav has been taking care of the party.
In fact, I have worked only under Uddhav you can say. I never got a chance to work directly under Balasaheb.