Balasaheb no more, era comes to an end for Shiv Sena supporters

Mumbai, Nov. 17 (ANI): Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Keshav Thackeray breathed his last at his Matoshree residence in suburban Bandra here on Saturday. He was 86.

"Balasaheb Thackeray passed away at 3: 33 p.m. Balasaheb had cardiac arrest, we could not revive him despite efforts," said Dr. Jalil Parkar.

According to reports, the last rites of the Shiv Sena chief would be performed at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Thackeray, who was born on January 23, 1926, had been keeping unwell for the last fortnight.

The Shiv Sena chief was also receiving treatment in the intensive care unit of Lilavati Hospital and was on life support before his death.

Bal Thackeray is survived by his two children Jaidev Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray. His wife Meena predeceased him, dying of a heart attack in September 1996. His eldest son, Bindumadhav, died in a road accident on April 20, 1996,

Bal Thackeray started his career as a cartoonist in the Free Press Journal in Mumbai. His cartoons were also published in the Sunday edition of The Times of India. In 1960, he launched a cartoon weekly Marmik with his brother. He used it to campaign against the growing influence of non-Marathi people in Mumbai, specifically targeting Gujaratis and South Indian labourers.

His political philosophy was largely shaped by his father, Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, a leading figure in the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement (United Maharashtra Movement), which advocated the creation of a separate linguistic state of Maharashtra.

In 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.

The BJP-Shiv Sena combine won the 1995 Maharashtra State Assembly elections and came to power. During the tenure of the government from 1995 to 1999, Thackeray was nicknamed 'remote control' since he played a major role in government policies and decisions from behind the scenes.

On July 28, 1999, Bal Thackeray was banned from voting and contesting in any election for six years from December 11, 1999 till December 10, 2005 on the recommendations of the Election Commission. After the six-year voting ban on Bal Thackeray was lifted in 2005, he voted for the first time in the 2006 BMC elections.

Thackeray, who used to be called 'Hindu Hriday Samraat' (Emperor of Hindu Hearts) by his followers, was the founder-editor of the party's Marathi-language mouthpiece Saamna and the Hindi-language newspaper Dophar Ka Saamna. (ANI)

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