Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray died of heart attack at his residence ‘Matoshree’ in suburban Bandra Saturday. The 86-year-old Thackeray breathed his last at 1533 hrs after battling for life for past few days. An announcement to this effect was made by his physician Dr Jalil Parkar.
While making the announcement outside ‘Matoshree’, Dr Parkar, who was his doctor for a long time, said “Mr Thackeray had cardiac arrest. We could not revive him despite our best efforts as his breathing stopped at 1533 hrs.” Thackeray is survived by two sons — Jaidev and Uddhav, the party executive president. His wife Meena and elder son Bindumadhav died earlier.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the death of Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray who passed away in Mumbai today, saying his death would be deeply felt by his family and followers.
The Prime Minister also appealed for calm and sobriety during the period of loss and mourning.
“The passing away of Bala Saheb will be deeply felt by his family and followers,” the Prime Minister said on Twitter.
Earlier, a spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the Prime Minister “condoles the passing away of Bal Thackeray.”
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also cancelled his scheduled dinner with Opposition leaders here today as a mark of respect for Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray who died in Mumbai this evening.
The Prime Minister was to hold a dinner for Opposition leaders to forge an understanding with them on various critical issues that were expected to come up during the Winter Session of Parliament beginning from November 22.
The Prime Minister had yesterday hosted the UPA allies for dinner to firm up a strategy to counter the Opposition onslaught during the Winter Session. The Session is expected to be stormy as the Opposition is gearing up to corner the governemnt on various critical issues includuing FDI in retail.
Bal Keshav Thackeray, the founder of regional outfit Shiv Sena which two-and-a-half-decades ago turned saffron, was called by followers Hindu Hriday Samraat (Emperor of Hindu Hearts).
Bal, eldest of three sons, was born on 23 January 1926 in the family of social reformer Keshav Sitaram Thackeray Thackeray began his professional career as a cartoonist with the English language daily The Free Press Journal in Mumbai, but left it in 1960 to form his own political weekly Marmik which is still being published.
His political philosophy was largely shaped by his father, a leading figure in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement (United Maharashtra movement), which advocated the creation of a separate linguistic state of Maharashtra. Bal Thackeray had three sons Bindumadhav, Jaidev and Uddhav.
His elder son Bindumadhav and his wife Meenatai died in ‘90s.
Through Marmik, he campaigned against the growing influence of Gujaratis, Marwaris, and southern Indians in Mumbai.
On June 19, 1966, Thackeray formed the Shiv Sena party to advocate more strongly the place of Maharashtrians in Mumbai’s political and professional landscape.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Thackeray built the party by forming temporary alliances with nearly all of Maharashtra’s political parties. He had an alliance with Congress, was extremely friendly with Sharad Pawar and since 1987 his partytied up with the BJP thanks to the efforts of late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan.
Thackeray was also the founder of the Marathi-language newspaper Saamana and the Hindi-language newspaper Dophar Ka Saamana.
A controversial figure, Thackeray attracted significant attention by making statements expressing admiration for Hitler as an artist and demagogue, while condemning the Holocaust, inciting violence against Muslims, expressing support for the LTTE and taking strong stances on the aspects of popular culture, including fervent opposition to the celebration of Valentine’s Day.