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Maharashtra needs you: Tiger to Pawar

Sena chief Bal Thackeray sends an emotional letter to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

india Updated: Nov 19, 2006 00:02 IST

It is a friendly gesture from Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray at the time when his party is facing one of the biggest challenges in its history.

Sena chief Bal Thackeray has sent an emotional letter to Nationalist Congress Party chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, advising him to take care of his health after undergoing an angioplasty a week ago.

Thackeray’s letter was personally handed over to Pawar by executive editor of Sena mouthpiece Saamna, Sanjay Raut.

"It was a letter sent by Balasaheb to Pawar on personal level. Their friendship has survived the political fights between them. Nothing much should be read in it," insisted Raut.

In the signed letter, Thackeray has advised Pawar to cut on long working long hours or tours abroad. He has also told him to avoid crowds of supporters who turn up to meet the leader after illness.

"Considering the present state of affairs, state and country need you," Thackeray has written in the letter.

Though Thackeray and Pawar were allies in the late 70s and 80s, the two became political rivals after Pawar returned to Congress and became Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

In fact, Thackeray ran a vitriolic campaign against him in the Nineties till Sena came to power in 1995.

However, the things are much different now. There is a question mark on Sena’s future following two successive splits by Narayan Rane and Raj Thackeray.

Early next year, the Sena will be facing an acid test in the form of elections to municipal corporations including cash-rich civic body of Mumbai. The Sena has been ruling Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for over a decade but now is not certain of winning the same.

Also, many in the Thackeray camp think, there is going to be political realignment in near future and NCP will play a significant role in it.

First Published: Nov 18, 2006 21:43 IST