iconimg Sunday, May 24, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, November 18, 2012
It was a day when MNS chief Raj Thackeray decided to spare himself the media spotlight.

Raj was first seen at Shivaji Park - talking to the police and checking funeral arrangements - on Saturday evening, hours after the Sena chief breathed his last. He visited Matoshree, the Thackeray residence, the next morning.

Maintaining a low profile during the final journey of Bal Thackeray - his uncle and mentor - on Sunday, Raj did not even travel on the trolley that transported the body from Bandra to Dadar's Shivaji Park with Uddhav and the rest of the family. In fact, the MNS leader took a detour because he did not want to go to the Sena headquarters.

"Emotions were running high, and some Sainiks were blaming him for his uncle's situation. Raj wanted to avoid a difficult situation," an MNS functionary said. Also, he did not want to seem like he wanted to gain political mileage by visiting the Sena Bhavan, the functionary added.

Raj, however, lost control over his emotions during the funeral. Distraught over his former mentor going up in crematorial flames, he broke down and hugged Uddhav.

"There was nothing political about it. It was just a personal moment," Sena legislator Ravindra Waikar said after the event.

Profile: Bal Thackeray | The man and his moods | Secrets | Milestones | Tiger's tale: Lata Mangeshkar | Raghu Rai | Aroon Tikekar | Sharad Pawar