Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray passes away

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November 17, 2012

Thackeray, who was in a critical condition for the last several days and kept an entire state on tenterhooks, died of cardiac arrest.

Mumbai: Ailing Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray who was in a critical condition last night, today passed away after a prolonged illness.

November 17, 2012

Thackeray, who was in a critical condition for the last several days and kept an entire state on tenterhooks, died of cardiac arrest.

Mumbai: Ailing Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray who was in a critical condition last night, today passed away after a prolonged illness.

Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray died on Saturday afternoon at his residence here, his doctor announced. He was 86.

Thackeray, who was in a critical condition for the last several days and kept an entire state on tenterhooks, died of cardiac arrest at 3.30 p.m.

Thousands of supporters massed outside his residence as his death was announced at 4.55 p.m. to a shocked Maharashtra, whose political stage he dominated for over four decades with his hard, rightwing political views that often rocked the entire nation.

He was born on January 23, 1926. Thackeray started his career as a political cartoonist.

The body of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray will be kept at Shivaji Park to enable millions of party activists and Mumbaikars to pay their last respects to the leader from 7 a.m. Sunday, party MP Sanjay Raut told IANS.

Raut also appealed to all Shiv Sainiks to "maintain calm and remain peaceful" in the wake of the tragedy which has befallen them.

Shivaji Park in south-central Mumbai is the same place where 46 years ago, Thackeray addressed his first Dussehra rally and continued the annual tradition virtually uninterrupted till his death Saturday.

Earlier in the week, party leader Sanjay Raut said that Bal Thackeray's condition improved and he has been taken off life support system.

Thackeray has been "taken off the life support system… he is definitely responding to treatment", Raut told a television channel.

Bal Thackeray's son Uddhav stepped outside the Thackeray home 'Matoshri' briefly around 2 am to address the massive crowd of anxious party activists who gathered there since late Wednesday.

Accompanied by son Aditya, Uddhav appealed to the people to "remain calm and maintain peace" and ensure that the image of 'Matoshri' is not spoiled.

The 86-year-old was in coma and on life support system, sources earlier told Hindustan Times. He was not able to breathe on his own and was on the bypass machine, a non-invasive machine that takes over the breathing and circulatory functions temporarily.

Since the past few days, a team of four to five doctors from Lilavati Hospital have been checking on him at Matoshri at least thrice a day.

Thackeray's kidney functions also failed, said doctors.

Four days ago, Thackeray, in a personalized edit in Saamna, the party mouthpiece, had declared that his health was poor, but he was not put on ventilator, as claimed by a section of the media.

Mumbai Police and other security agencies have made tight security arrangements around Matoshri, the Thackeray clan's home in Bandra west.

Over 350 police personnel, plus the Rapid Action Force and other contingents, led by top officers, have deployed stringent security in the vicinity.

One of the most outspoken figures of India's Hindu nationalist movement, Thackeray has in the past called for the formation of Hindu suicide squads, once ordered his followers to dig up a cricket pitch to stop the Pakistani team from playing in Mumbai and spoke of his admiration for Adolf Hitler.

Shiv Sena, which has controlled Mumbai's city council since 1996, is a key ally of the national opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. Thackeray's death could spark a power struggle in Shiv Sena, denting its support with its vote base in Maharashtra state, where he has been the face of the party.


Courtesy: IANS

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