Even as the Opposition is cornering the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance over various issues, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday shared dais with Shiv Sena-BJP leaders at a function to mark the 75th birthday of former Lok Sabha speaker and Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi.
Apart from Pawar, BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, RPI leader Ramdas Athavale were present on the occasion.
Pawar said that despite political differences, Maharashtra's political leaders have always maintained personal relationships cutting across party lines.
He said he got the invitation for the function when he was at the Central Hall in Parliament with Samajwadi Party and BSP MPs.
"They were surprised when I told them that I would be going for the function," he said.
Pawar lauded Joshi for his steadfast loyalty to Shiv Sena and its chief Bal Thackeray and the cause of Marathi language and people.
Pawar said Shiv Sena was formed at a time in 1966 when there was a space for an organisation which would voice the concerns of Marathi People.
"Late Congress leader and chief minister of Maharashtra Y B Chavan inaugurated Marmik, the magazine launched by Bal Thackeray. It was the beginning of an organisation which raised its voice for the welfare of the Marathi people. I remember the first rally at Shivaji Park, which I observed closely since I was a Congressman. But the issues raised were relevant and shared the concerns," Pawar said.
An overwhelmed Joshi while replying to the felicitations described Pawar as a fearless and straight forward leader.
"When he was attacked in Delhi, people in Maharashtra closed ranks to condemn the incident and stood together," he said.
On Sunday, Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule visited Thackeray's residence Matoshree in suburban Mumbai to express her gratitude to the Sena supremo for standing by her father after the attack.