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Tributes pour in for Thackeray: 'Maharashtra orphaned'

Last updated on: November 17, 2012 19:48 IST

Tributes pour in for Thackeray: 'Maharashtra orphaned'

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Personalities across the political spectrum and social sphere on Saturday condoled the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.

"Maharashtra has lost a veteran, experienced leader....He was a politician, cartoonist, editor, organiser as well as art-lover and orator," Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said.

Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that Thackeray, as cartoonist, arrived on the scene like a storm after the collapse of communists in Mumbai, and took forward the legacy of his reformist father, `Prabodhankar' Thackeray.

Shinde said he knew Thackeray for over four decades, and always felt he will survive the current bout of illness.

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Image: Archival picture of Balasaheb Thackeray leaving an eye clinic in Mumbai
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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'He worked for the people all his life'

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"He considered King Shivaji his idol. He worked for the people all his life. We took inspiration from him while governing in Maharashtra," said BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, who served as a public works department minister in the saffron alliance government in the state between 1995-1999.

State PWD Minister Chhangan Bhujbal, a former Sena leader who later switched loyalties to the Congress and then NCP,  said Thackeray created history by founding Shiv Sena and taking it to great heights politically.

"He was fearless while speaking...word 'compromise' never existed in his dictionary," Bhujbal said.

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Image: BJP president Nitin Gadkari


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'He was a guide for me'

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Nationalist Congress Power chief Sharad Pawar's daughter and MP Supriya Sule said the Pawar family had very close relations with the Thackerays, though in the political arena the two rivals never spared each other.

"There were political differences for sure. But Pawar and Thackeray were the best of friends in the personal sphere Thackeray helped a lot ahead of my marriage," she reminisced.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said Thackeray was a strong patriot and a good cartoonist who carved an identity of his own in Maharashtra. "He had great affection towards me and was a guide for me," Modi said, offering his condolences.

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Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi


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'Maharashtra has been orphaned today'

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Singer Asha Bhosale said she had lots of memories and it was a "sad day" for her. Lata Mangeshkar said Maharashtra has been "orphaned" today.

Tamil superstar Rajnikanth described Thackeray as a great personality, and said he has lost a "father figure".

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Bal Thackeray dominated Maharashtra politics during his long political career.

"He dominated Maharashtra politics for a long period and many of his observations raised controversies," Banerjee said in her condolence message.

She conveyed her condolences to the members of the bereaved family.

The 86-year-old cartoonist-turned-politician breathed his last at 3.30 pm Saturday at his residence 'Matoshree' in suburban Bandra.

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Image: Lata Mangeshkar


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'It is difficult to imagine that he has left us!'

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Calling him a man of great "grit" and "conviction", Bollywood celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan, and Ajay Devgn condoled the demise of Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray on Saturday.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who had visited the ailing politician at his residence 'Matoshree' recently, said it is hard to believe that Thackeray is no more.

"I sat by his bedside for hours these past few days, a prayer in my heart, watching him struggling to breathe, but fighting. Each day he continued his struggle with a grit that was baffling even for the doctors on hand.

"And just a couple of hours back, as I stand next to his still, peaceful, saffron draped body, it is difficult to imagine that he has left us!," Bachchan, 70, tweeted.

Actor-producer Ajay Devgn said, "A man of convictions and a man of vision. A great leader. Rest in peace Balasaheb."

Director Ram Gopal Varma, whose Bachchan starrer Sarkar was loosely based on Thackeray's life, tweeted, "...can't ever forget the hug the real Sarkar gave me when he saw reel Sarkar... Bala saab was a true epitome of power in every sense of the word."

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Image: Amitabh Bachchan


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'The real Tiger'

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Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar on Twitter: "His demise has left a deep void in Indian politics,always admired him for his courage,The real Tiger. May strength be with his family. RIP BalaSaheb Thackeray."

Veteran actor Anupam Kher on Twitter: "Just woke up in NY to d sad news about BalaSaheb. He'll always remain larger than life. He was helpful, Courageous & a true Nationalist. RIP."

Twitter was flooded with messages as celebrities took to the micro-blogging website to condole Thackeray's death.

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar tweeted, "He lived with great conviction in his believes, which led him to be a great leader. Wish strength to his family! Balasaaheb was outspoken and sharp observer. He will deeply be missed."

Arjun Rampal wrote, "RIP Balasaheb, condolences to his family. Peace be with you and all your loved ones."

Actor Riteish Deshmukh, who lost his politician father Vilasrao Deshmukh recently, also joined in to pay his last respect to the Shiv Sena supremo.

"RIP - Saheb. Balasaheb was a Hero- people- Loved him, Copied him, Followed him," Deshmukh said.

Director Karan Johar wrote, "Thoughts and prayers with the Thackeray family....RIP balasaab."

Mahesh Bhatt tweeted, "Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them. The memory of Bal Thackeray will live in the memory of we Mubaikars forever."

Actor Vivek Oberoi wrote, "RIP Balasaheb --- The Roaring Tiger of Maharashtra! Our prayers are with the Thackeray family and the millions of followers."


Image: Akshay Kumar
Photographs: Reuters

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