Lucknow, Nov 19: Who says Bal Thackeray's, the champion of "Hindutva", ideology alienated Muslim population from him? Otherwise, why would a leading Islamic cleric from Lucknow mourn Thackeray's death? The 86-year-old Shiv Sena supremo died after suffering a cardiac arrest on Saturday, Nov 17.
Expressing grief at Thackeray's demise, Lucknow's Naib Imam Maulana Khalid Rasheed said, "the stature of Balasaheb Thackeray was such that no one could ignore him in Indian politics."
"Thackeray remained an icon for his party, where his word was law," Rasheed said, adding, "However, there was a vast majority in the country that did not agree with his brand of politics, which they considered divisive. Had it not been like that, his influence would have spread across the country."
Naib Imam Maulana Khalid Rasheed also heads the city's oldest Islamic seminary, 'Firangi Mahal'.
At least 20 lakh people joined Bal Thackeray during his last journey on Sunday, Nov 18. Mumbai witnessed a rare scene where a wave of people bid adieu to their Senapati (leader). People thronged the roadsides, flyovers, skywalks and balconies of their buildings to catch a glimpse of the Sena patriarch and pay homage to him.
Personalities across the political spectrum and social sphere condoled the death of Shiv Sena supremo Thackeray. "Maharashtra has lost a veteran, experienced leader....He was a politician, cartoonist, editor, organiser as well as art-lover and orator," Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said Thackeray was a strong patriot and a good cartoonist who carved an identity of his own in Maharashtra. "He had great affection towards me and was a guide for me," Modi said, offering his condolences. Singer Asha Bhosle said she had lots of memories and it was a "sad day" for her. Lata Mangeshkar said Maharashtra has been "orphaned" today.