The Shiv Sena's rank and file, led by Maharashtra Chief Minister and party president Uddhav Thackeray, paid tributes to Sena founder Bal Thackeray on his eighth death anniversary on Tuesday.
Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar, whose party is an alliance partner in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government, and several state ministers also paid homage to the Shiv Sena's founder.
The chief minister, accompanied by his wife and sons Aaditya Thackeray and Tejas Thackeray, visited the Shiv Sena founder's 'smritisthal' (makeshift memorial) at the Shivaji Park in Dadar area in Mumbai.
State NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal, a former Shiv Sena leader, also visited the site to pay homage to the late leader.
The Shiv Sena earlier appealed to its workers to ensure physical distancing, in the wake of the COVID-19 situation, while visiting the memorial site, which is otherwise thronged by scores of party men on this day.
Bal Thackeray died on November 17, 2012.
"The pain that Balasaheb is not among us will be there forever. But we are sure he is always with us and will always be there with us and inspire us," Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said after paying tributes to the party's founder.
"...his ideology, soul, Hindutva and his Marathi pride will always be there with us forever," he said.
Raut noted that the country's politics continues to revolve around the key issues of 'sons of the soil and unemployment' which were flagged by Bal Thackeray 55 years ago.
To drive home his point, the Rajya Sabha member also referred to the recently-held Bihar Assembly polls, in which the issue of employment was highlighted.
Earlier in the day, politicians, including NCP president Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, paid glowing tributes to Bal Thackeray.
Sharad Pawar hailed Bal Thackeray as a 'powerful orator, cartoonist and political commentator'.
'Humble tributes to late Balasaheb Thackeray on his death anniversary!' he tweeted.
Ajit Pawar praised Bal Thackeray for fighting all his life for Maharashtras pride, respect of the Marathi people and justice for the commoners.
The deputy chief minister said Maharashtras all-round growth and incorporating Belgaum, Karwar and Nipani -- areas of Karnataka which have substantial Marathi-speaking population -- were dreams of Bal Thackeray.
'Let's resolve to fulfil Balasaheb's dream,' he said in his message.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis also paid tribute to Bal Thackeray, terming him as 'mentor and Hinduhridaysamrat' (conqueror of Hindu hearts) and hailed him for 'having faith in his ideology and being firm on his statements'.
State PWD Minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan also paid tributes to Bal Thackeray in a message on Twitter.