TNI Bureau: Over 20 lakh people gathered at the streets of Mumbai to bid a tearful adieu to Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray, who was cremated with full state honours at the Shivaji Park in Mumbai this evening. Balasaheb’s son Uddhav Thackeray lit the funeral pyre. Raj Thackeray and other family members were also present when the mortal remains of Bal Thackeray were consigned to flames.
Deviating from the rule book, the Maharashtra Government accorded full state honours to the departed soul, who was connected with the masses. A guard of honour along with a ceremonial gun salute was given to Bal Thackeray by the Mumbai Police. Lakhs of Shiv Sainiks broke down while the last rites were being performed. Raj Thackeray was also seen crying bitterly.
Maharashtra CM Prithiviraj Chavan, BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, Union Ministers Rajiv Shukla and Praful Patel, others leaders like Chhagan Bhujbal, Sanjay Nirupam, Narayan Rane, Big B Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, industrialist nil Ambani and many other top dignitaries attended the funeral and paid their last respect to the departed soul.
Earlier, the funeral procession of Bal Thackeray took over five hours to reach the Shiv Sena Bhavan from his residence Matoshree. After a brief halt at Sena Bhavan, his body was brought to Shivaji Park where it was kept for public darshan. Over 20 lakh people stood on the streets and walked along with the procession throughout the day.
An era in Maharashtra politics came to an end with the last rites of Balasaheb Thackeray. He will be known for his strong ideological values, sheer determination, courage, straightforwardness, hard talks, mass appeal and charismatic leadership. Long Live Balasaheb Thackeray!