New Delhi/Chennai/Patna: India’s political fraternity including President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray’s death on Saturday.
The Prime Minister called up the Shiv Sena leader’s son Uddhav even as he appealed to people to maintain calm and sobriety, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The Prime Minister said the interests of Maharashtra were “particularly important” for Thackeray and “he always strived to inculcate a sense of pride in its people”. “He founded the Shiv Sena and built the party into a formidable force in the state politics with his strong leadership. The passing away of Balasaheb will be deeply felt by his family and his followers,” he said.
Singh cancelled a dinner for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders that was to be held on Saturday, on the request of BJP leader and leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.
President Mukherjee said the nation has lost a veteran leader who worked to help the common man. In his condolence letter to Uddhav Thackeray, the President said he was “extremely sad to learn about the passing away”. “In his death, the nation has lost a veteran leader who worked to help the common man and whose contributions in the field of media added a different perspective to the political discourse.”
Recalling a meeting with Thackeray during a visit to Mumbai, Dravida Munnetra Kazagham leader M. Karunanidhi said, “He came to Hotel Oberoi, where I was staying, and had a long conversation. Though we had differences of opinion, his love and simplicity during his visit impressed me a lot.”
“A political era in Maharashtra politics has come to an end after the passing away of the octogenerian Shiv Sena leader,” Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said. “Thackeray had a special place in the political annals in Maharashtra.”
BJP leader and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi said, “Balasaheb Thackeray was the epitome of courage and valour. He was full of life. He fought like a warrior. I’ve lost someone who always guided me.”
Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi also mourned the death of the Shiv Sena leader.
In a condolence message, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal described Thackeray as a real leader of the masses who worked relentlessly to safeguard the rights of Maharashtrians till his last breath.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik also mourned the death of Thackeray.