Shiv Sainiks, who waited for hours together at Shivaji Park to bid a final adieu to late Bal Thackeray on Sunday, were upset because they were not given an opportunity to see their departed leader at close quarters.
In particular, the women Sainiks were enraged when only VIPs were taken to the dais to pay their tributes to the leader. The emotionally charged women vented their ire shouting slogans that the party should have allowed them access to Thackeray's body, for a last glimpse of the man who guided them for several years.
The Sena had made arrangements for Sainiks to walk by the place where Thackeray's body was placed. However, an inordinate delay in the funeral procession from Kalanagar to Shivaji Park sent the plan haywire.
"I came here with my family early in the morning and stood in the queue for a darshan of Balasaheb, but I did not get to touch his feet and offer flowers. Are we not Sainiks?" asked a weeping Lalita Mhatre from Kandivli. Madhuri Patil, who had accompanied Mhatre, couldn't control her emotions when she saw images of Thackeray's body lying on the pyre on the screens put up at Shivaji Park. "He's our God. I wanted to touch his feet before going home," she said.
An unidentified volunteer, also a Sainik, tried to pacify the enraged group of women. "Tai (sister), we too are here for so many hours. But the procession took too long to reach the (Shivaji) park and our senior leaders had to bypass the plan for a darshan for everyone," he told the women. The women calmed down only when the priests started chanting mantras before Thackeray's pyre was lit. One could see tears rolling down their cheeks.