Mumbai/New Delhi, Nov 17 (IBNS) Prime Minister Mnamohan Singh and Vice President Hamid Ansari on Saturday condoled the death of Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray.
Thackeray died at his Mumbai residence on Saturday after battling ailments for days, ending an era in Maharashtra and national politics in course of which many opposed to his functioning struggling to come to terms with his brand of firebrand nationalism. He was 86.
Condoling his death, the Prime Minister said, for Thackeray the interests of Maharashtra were particularly important and he always strived to inculcate a sense of pride in the people of the state.
"He founded the Shiv Sena and built the party into a formidable force in the State politics with his strong leadership and extraordinary organizational skills. He was a consummate communicator whose stature in the politics of Maharashtra was unique," said a statement issued by the Prime Minister´s Office (PMO).
"The passing away of Bala Saheb will be deeply felt by his family and followers," the PMO said.
The Prime Minister appealed for calm and sobriety during this period of loss and mourning.
In his message Ansari said Thackeray had made significant contributions to public life in Maharashtra.
"I am grieved to learn of the sad demise of Shri Balasaheb Thackeray. Shri Thackeray has made significant contributions to public life in Maharashtra. Throughout his life he remained committed to well-being of the people of Maharashtra," said Ansari.
"My wife joins me in sending our heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and wide circle of his admirers. We pray to God to grant eternal peace to the departed soul," he said.
As Thackeray´s end came at around 3-30 pm and the news was announced in the evening by his doctors, lakhs of his followers, many of whom called him the King of Hindu Hearts, broke down and grieved for the man who founded Shiv Sena in 1966 to enforce the rights of Marathi people in Mumbai and who left an indelible impact on national political architecture with plain speaking and espousal of national pride.
The Sena patriarch died at his residence Matoshree in Bandra. He died after a respiratory arrest, the doctor said, urging reporters to not ask uncomfortable questions to the grieving family and respect privacy.
Thackeray is survived by his sons Jaidev and Uddhav, who is the executive president of the Shiv Sena.
His political legacy is also carried forward by his nephew Raj Thackeray a few years back broke ranks with Shiv Sena and formed a separate party- Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).