The mortal remains of 86-year-old Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, popularly known as Hindu Hriday Samrat (Emperor of Hearts), was consigned to flames at 1815 hrs this evening at the historic Shivaji Park, Dadar in central Mumbai with full state honours.
Thackeray breathed his last yesterday afternoon at 1533 hrs.
Uddhav, the youngest son of late Thackeray and Shiv Sena executive president, lit the funeral pyre in presence of a sea of humanity and VVIPs including Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, NCP chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, BJP president Nitin Gadkari, PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal.
Veteran BJP leader and former deputy prime minister L K Advani, Maneka Gandhi, Gopinath Munde, VHP leader Pravin Togadia, Jayant Panda, BJD MP on behalf of Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, industrialists Anil Ambani, Venugopal Dhoot, Subhash Goyal,film personalities Madhur Bhandarkar, Mahesh Manjrekar, megastar Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, many MPs and MLAs and religious leaders were also present.
Thackeray, who never held any government post, was given full state honours and his body was wrapped in the tricolour. Police gave a salute when his funeral procession began from his residence Matoshree in suburban Bandra. The funeral procession reached the Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters, and from there the procession reached the Shivaji Park at around 1630 hrs.
The VVIPs paid floral tributes to the departed leader on the occasion.
His estranged nephew and MNS chief Raj, who walked with the funeral procession at Bandra, returned to his residence Sudha Kunj at Shivaji Park, which is a stone’s throw away from the ground, and then rejoined the procession. The government for the first time allowed to cremate the most influential leader of Maharashtra at Shivaji Park – the place where he had delivered his speeches every year on Dussehra festival since 1966 till 2011, a record in itself.
This year, he delivered the speech through video conference.
The government reportedly allowed to cremate the octagenarian leader at Shivaji Park in view of the rush of heavy crowd.