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'Both his critics and friends will miss Balasaheb'

Last updated on: November 18, 2012 14:46 IST

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray never compromised on issues of national importance, former BJP president Venkaiah Naidu tells's Onkar Singh

I had visited Mumbai on Friday and met Shiv Sena executive president Udhav Thackeray. He told me that Balasaheb was recovering.

I left Mumbai with a sense of hope that Balasaheb would get well soon and take over the reins of the Shiv Sena once more with the same authority as he has done since he launched the party on his own. But the news of his sudden demise came as a shock, not only for me but for millions of his fans all over Maharashtra. His critics and friends in the political arena would miss him as well.

I have had several meetings with him on a number of occasions on various issues. I particularly liked his uncompromising stand on issues of national importance -- like the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

He was the first one to take credit for the demolition of the disputed Babri structure. He hit out at (underworld don) Dawood Ibrahim and his associates for engineering the bomb blasts in Mumbai in 1993 and crippling the financial capital. He hit out at the central government of India after the 26/11 attack by Pakistani terrorists.

After I became the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, I had called on Balasaheb. He blessed me and the two of us held prolonged discussion on a number of delicate and important issues.

In his death, I have lost a guide and a mentor. And, his signed articles in Saamna would be missed very badly.

Onkar Singh in New Delhi