Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Sunday night formally anointed grandson Aditya into politics by presenting him a ceremonial sword as a crowd of over 200,000 cheered lustily.
A surprisingly robust and healthy looking Thackeray, accompanied by Aditya, arrived at the Shiv Sena Dussehra rally at the historic Shivaji Park grounds, even as his son and Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray wound up his 45-minute-long address.
First, the three generations of the Thackeray family garlanded a statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji before Thackeray was escorted to his 'throne'.
After the usual round of garlands, Aditya stood before him, clad in a simple blue kurta with sleeves rolled up to the elbows and dark trousers.
Thackeray handed his grandson a gleaming sword and touched his forehead, while Aditya bent and touched his feet. Thackeray also presented a bouquet of flowers to the 20-year-old.
Aditya then sought his father Udhav's blessings by touching his feet.
He then came forward on the stage, raised the sword and waved it to the cheering crowds, then bowed before the gathering and syumbolically sought their blessings.
Belying expectations, Aditya did not make a speech and the stage was left for his father and grandfather.
Flanked on his right by former leader of opposition in the state assembly Ramdas Kadam and on the left by ex-chief minister and former Lok Sabha speaker Manohar Joshi, Aditya sat throughout the two-hour function and listened attentively to the speeches of the two senior Thackerays.
In his 45-minute speech, Bal Thackeray said that Aditya had progressed in the party by his deeds and urged partymen to encourage and support him.