Facing a crowd of anxious supporters and eager media persons, Dr Jalil Parkar made the most difficult announcement of his medical career.
"The honourable Balasaheb Thackeray breathed his last at 3.30 pm," said Dr Parkar.
Dr Parkar had been by the side of the ailing Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray since Wednesday night, when news of his deteriorating health spread like wildfire. He was accompanied by senior doctors from Lilavati hospital. Dr Abdul Samad Ansari, Intensivist, Dr Satish Kulkarni, Anaesthesist, Sr Hemant Pathak, Urologist, Dr Ajit Menon, Cardiologist, and Dr Prakash Jiandanai, Critical Care specialist, and a host of male nurses.
The iconic founder and leader of the right-winged saffron party Shiv Sena had suffered a cardiac arrest after battling the critical condition for the last three days.
Dr Parkar, a pulmonologist with Lilavati Hospital, has been treating Bal Thackeray for the last decade. The ironic fact that Thackeray's chief medical advisor is a Muslim comes as a surprise to many. However, over the years even the most staunch supporters of the party have become accustomed to Dr Parkar’s presence in the Thackeray residence and inner circle.
Thackeray’s policies and tirade against Muslims in his editorials, speeches and the annual Dussehra rally had made him a dreaded figure among the masses.
Dr Parkar, a resident of Bandra, has been attending to the ailing leader regularly for the past few years. It is on Dr Parkar's medical advice that Bal Thackeray addressed the Dussehra rally via a video conference. He was advised against addressing the huge crowd at Shivaji Park for the annual Dussehra rally. It was at this rally, through a recorded message, that Bal Thackeray appealed to the Sainiks to lend the same support and affection that they had tended to him, to his son Uddhav Thackeray and grandson Aditya Thackeray.