Sena, BJP leaders pay tributes to Bal Thackeray, avoid each other

Mumbai: Leaders of the Shiv Sena and the BJP paid tributes to late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray on his seventh death anniversary at Shivaji Park here on Sunday, but evidently took care to avoid each other.

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his family members including son and newly-elected MLA Aaditya visited Bal Thackeray's memorial at Shivaji Park alongwith several party leaders.

While the Sena leaders visited between 10 am to 12 noon, BJP leaders Devendra Fadnavis, Vinod Tawde and Pankaja Munde visited the place post 1 pm, after the Thackerays and Sena leaders, except Uddhav's aide Milind Narvekar, had left.

The alliance between the Sena and the BJP fell apart despite winning a majority in the last month's Maharashtra elections as the BJP did not cede the Sena's demand of sharing the chief minister's post.

The Sena is now in talks with the Congress and NCP for possible government formation while the state has been placed under President's rule.

Fadnavis, who resigned as chief minister last week, also tweeted a video of Bal Thackeray's select speeches with his own voice-over offering tributes to the Sena founder.

The clips of Thackeray's speeches he had chosen were about maintaining "honour and pride".

Asked about this apparent swipe at the current Sena leadership, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, "We don't wish to be taught about pride. The next chief minister will be from the Shiv Sena."

Fadnavis, who also faced jeering by Shiv Sena workers who shouted `Mee Parat Yein' (I will come back), mocking his slogan during the campaign, did not speak to the media at Shivaji Park.

Tawde, who was a minister in the Fadnavis cabinet, said, "Late Balasaheb was like the head of the family for the Sena and BJP alliance."

Pankaja Munde, another former BJP minister, said, "We do miss Balasaheb Thackeray."

NCP chief Sharad Pawar offered tributes to the late leader through Twitter, saying, "Late Balasaheb created a Marathi `manoos' who was proud of his regional identity.

"He received unconditional and ever-lasting love from his followers for his politics of putting society first, for his oratory and his straightforward stand," Pawar added.

Pawar, who enjoyed a warm relationship with Bal Thackeray in personal life but was his rival in politics, is being seen as the architect of the alliance between the Sena, his party and the Congress.

State NCP chief Jayant Patil and senior party leader Chhagan Bhujbal -- who was once with the Sena -- also visited Shivaji Park.

No senior Congress leader was seen visiting the memorial, but some state unit leaders tweeted tributes to Bal Thackeray.

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