Bal Thackeray is no more

PRESS TRUST OF INDIA

Mumbai, Nov 17: Bal Thackeray, a maverick politician who roused emotions on Marathi pride and catapulted Shiv Sena to power in Maharashtra in the 1990s, died here today after having been critically ill for the past few days.
The 86-year-old cartoonist turned politician, known for his strong views and speaking his mind, sometimes bordering on the offensive, breathed his last at 3.30 PM at his residence ‘Matoshree’ in suburban Bandra.
“He had suffered a cardiac arrest. We could not revive him despite our best efforts. He breathed his last at around 3:30 PM,” Dr Jalil Parkar, who treated the Sena supremo, told reporters after emerging from Thackeray residence this evening.
Thackeray is survived by sons Jaidev and Uddhav, who is the Executive President of the party. His nephew Raj had split from the family and found his own Maharashtra Navnirman Sena over six years ago following a succession row.
A rabble rouser, who started out as a cartoonist alongside R K Laxman in the Free Press Journal in the 1950s, founded the Shiv Sena in 1966 on the plank of job security for the Marathi manoos (sons of the soil) which translated into attacks on South Indians whom he had blamed for taking away the opportunities from the locals.
Later, his politics also centred around Hindu identity and anti-Congressism and was also unrestrained in his Muslim bashing.
Known for paralysing Bombay, as Mumbai was called then, at any opportunity, Thackeray initially concentrated on the metropolis but later spread his politics throughout the state and tied up with the BJP to remain its longest ally till date, sharing the saffron agenda.
Always the kingmaker, Thackeray was largely instrumental in ending the Congress hegemony in Maharashtra when the two parties stormed to power in 1994 and they shared power even at the Centre between 1998 and 2004. He never occupied any office.
Thackeray, who had relegated himself to the background after anointing Uddhav as his successor, had been suffering from respiratory problems and pancreatic disease.
Meanwhile, security has been stepped up in the metropolis in the wake of Thackeray's death.
President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the death of Thackeray. Singh cancelled a dinner for BJP leaders scheduled today ahead of Parliament session following Sushma Swaraj's request.
The condition Sena patriarch worsened on Wednesday night when he had to be put on life support. He was taken off life support later after showing signs of improvement.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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