Several luminaries ranging from politicians across political parties, historians, artists, cricketer and Shiv Sainiks attended the condolence meet organised in memory of late Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Tuesday evening held at Shanmukhananda Hall in Sion.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray did not attend the function.
Senior leaders such as NCP chief Sharad Pawar and chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who were supposed to attend the condolence meet, did not do so but sent representatives instead.
Senior BJP leader LK Advani while speaking on Thackeray referred to him as someone who was unique and original.
“He was among few leaders I knew who said what they felt without bothering what others would feel.... no one can copy him. His passing has created a void," Advani said.
Home minister RR Patil in his speech narrated an incident when a breach of privilege motion was moved against Thackeray in the legislative assembly and he was called to answer. " It was for the first and last time in the history of the assembly that all legislators stood up and some even went to touch the feet of someone against whom a privilige motion was moved,” Patil said.
Industrialist and former MP Rahul Bajaj praised Thackeray saying he always respected people for their capabilities. “As a family we had a Congress bent, yet he offered me a Rajya Sabha ticket for MP," he said.
BJP leader Gopinath Munde said that the alliance between BJP and Sena had stayed strong only because of Thackeray. “Even when bureaucrats had told us that placing a cable car ropeway to Raigad was impossible, Balasaheb said that it was a challenge for us to complete it within 8 days. We accepted the task and now it is a reality, thanks to his will power," Munde said.
BJP chief Nitin Gadkari said that Thackeray chose his men on their capability and not on the basis of their caste of their wealth. “Once I told him a Sainik whom he had given a ticket from Vidarbha would not win as there were very few people from his community in that region. Balasaheb said people will not vote for the candidate for his caste but because he is a Sainik," Gadkari said.