At 82, Thackeray may still campaign | india | Hindustan Times
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At 82, Thackeray may still campaign

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray is likely to campaign for the upcoming elections.Members of the party said the octogenarian remained their best canvasser ever and may venture out to address a few rallies ‘if he felt like it’, reports Rajendra Aklekar.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2009 01:09 IST
Rajendra Aklekar

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray is likely to campaign for the upcoming elections.

Members of the party said the octogenarian remained their best canvasser ever and may venture out to address a few rallies ‘if he felt like it’.

“Yes, he may (campaign). He’s our hero. We do not require any star campaigners,” Shiv Sena member of Parliament and party spokesman Sanjay Raut said. “Balasaheb is our only star and he will venture out to address voters and has said so on many occasions.”

Thackeray, who is now 82, was last seen in public at the traditional Dussehra rally at Shivaji Park in October, arriving before the gathering with a stick in hand and looking tired.

Speaking with long pauses but a sharp voice, he had on the occasion handed over the mantle of running the show to his son and party executive president Uddhav, who also spoke for the first time at the rally.

At times the ageing leader’s thoughts would stray, but Uddhav and other party leaders would prompt him back into the right direction.

He was much more active last week at a private function, a cassette launch, and walked in the room without support, even spoke to a few journalists on the political situation.

“He has expressed willingness and may jump into the campaign,” Raut said. “He may not travel far, but he can definitely address a rally or two in Mumbai and around. We are not ruling that out.”