"A gang of dacoits cannot do without a bunch of pickpockets, thieves and traitors..." is what Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray said in response to Sena MP Anand Paranjpe's decision to join the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).
The Sena chief, who celebrated his 85th birthday on Monday, made the comments in an editorial published in the party mouthpiece Saamna.
"People do not think about the house they grew up in, where they got their respect. But our party is strong and does not depend on the people who come and go," he said. Thackeray also targeted Pawar saying he attempted to break into a house with the power of money." Thackeray added that Paranjpe would not get the NCP a single vote and would jump to another party at the next opportunity.
However, while addressing the media on Monday, Thackeray indicated that despite the bitter words, Pawar was still a friend. "If I call on him, he will come and see me immediately," he said.
Saamna also carried an article by Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who praised Thackeray saying that people like him are rare. "People like Balasaheb are born just once in a century. He has been brave following Shivaji Maharaj's footsteps and has always fought openly for the cause of Hindutva," he said.
While the official party celebration was contained to Shanmukhananda hall, the Shiv Sena chief's birthday was celebrated in the city with great fanfare. Thousands of Sena members gathered at his residence, Matoshri, at Bandra (East) and waited to catch a glimpse of their leader, who waved to them from his window.
The Nepali Shramik Mazdoor Union performed a 'rudrakshatula' where they weighed the holy seed 'rudraksha' against Thackeray's weight and distributed it among those gathered.