Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray made a public appearance on Friday evening after a break of nearly two years at a function at Shivaji Park in Mumbai to mark the golden jubilee of the formation of Maharashtra.
The last time he was seen at a public function was during the 2008 annual Dussehra rally of the party at the same venue.
At that time, he had made his famous statement that he had "grown old and tired" and needed a walking stick, which signalled the passing of the baton to his son Uddhav, who is the party's executive president now.
During the intervening period, Thackeray, 84, was mostly in and out of Lilavati Hospital in Bandra west for a variety of age-related ailments.
Friday evening, Uddhav drove down his father from "Matoshri", their Bandra residence, to Shivaji Park in Dadar, a distance barely of 10 km, around 8 p.m.
A large number of party leaders and ordinary workers were present at the venue to catch a glimpse of Thackeray as he emerged from the vehicle amid tight security.
He was taken around in a smaller open vehicle to inaugurate and view a painting exhibition organised there.
Thackeray appeared very cheerful, smiling at his supporters and well-wishers, and greeted them by raising his hands or doing a "namaste" even as many fell at his feet for his blessings.
He departed for home in less than an hour.
The Sena has organised a function on the eve of Maharashtra Day this year, marking a golden jubilee of the formation of the state.
A separate function was organised by Thackeray's estranged nephew and Uddhav's cousin, Raj, whose Maharashtra Navnirman Sena organised a mega-event at the sprawling Andheri Sports Club Friday evening.