“The remote control of politics will continue to remain with me.”
With these words, on his 84th birthday, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray said he was still in action. As Sainiks thronged his Bandra residence, Matoshree, on Saturday to wish Thackeray, the party chief made it clear that the Sena’s reins were still in his hands.
“I have grown old by age, but not by thought,” said Thackeray in an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamna. “The sapling [Sena] I planted 45 years ago has grown into a vine, which has reached the power centre in Delhi.”
Thackeray said the Marathi manoos always was and will remain at the centre of the Sena’s thoughts. In a rare gesture, Thackeray also met supporters at Matoshree and waved at them from his window.
He made a personalised appeal to Sena’s supporters through Saamna to contribute towards party funds.
“Please contribute to the party. There’s a donation box kept at Matoshree and Sena Bhavan,” he said.
Thackeray also said he felt nostalgic about the Sena’s glorious days. “The crowds, the challenges and the trust of Sainiks—the Shiv Sena today is standing on these powers.”
Won’t allow Aussies to play in IPL: Uddhav
Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said on Saturday that his party would not allow Australian cricketers to play in the Indian Premier league matches in the state because of the attacks on Indians in Australia.
Uddhav was addressing Sainiks at Shanmukhananda Hall, King’s Circle on the occasion of his father’s 84th birthday. Party workers expected Thackeray to come but he did not turn up.
Uddhav also criticised Chief Minister Ashok Chavan for his U-turn on making it compulsory for taxi drivers to learn Marathi. “He [Chavan] should first try and speak to Sonia Gandhi in Marathi and then advise citizens.”
He said he was hurt by his leadership’s failure in the 2009 Assembly polls and vowed that he will ensure that the saffron flag flutters over Mantralaya.
Saamna came out with a 92-page special anniversary issue for Thackeray’s birthday with builders, industrialists and Bollywood stars putting in advertisements wishing the Sena chief.
Amitabh Bachchan’s AB Corp, Sanjay and Manyata Dutt, Yash Johar’s Dharma Productions and Subhash Ghai’s Mukta Arts gave ads. Companies like Reliance, Lokhandwala, McDonalds and Pepsico also sent wishes.