Bangalore: Within few hours after Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray was laid to rest with full state honours on Sunday at Central Mumbai’s Shivaji Park, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said his death was a big loss for the party as the Shiv Sena has been a trusted ally for long.
"Balasaheb's death is a big loss for the BJP as Shiv Sena has been a trusted ally since long," he told reporters.
He recalled that Thackeray did not aspire to become chief minister even after the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance formed a coalition government in Maharashtra. "He confined himself to Maharashtra. His demise is a big loss for the state and India," he added.
Naidu said Thackeray was an outspoken, forthright and uncompromising fighter all his life and never hankered after power. "You find very few examples such as Thackeray's calibre in the political history of the country," he added.
He said he met the ailing Thackeray at Leelavati Hospital and was told he would recover. "But he is no more and I only pray that his soul rest in peace."
On the possible fallout of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa quitting BJP, Naidu said it was his choice if he wished to form his party. However,people support ideology, not individuals.
Even in Karnataka people would stand with BJP, he said, adding the party had given Yeddyurappa all support.
On Yeddyurappa's outburst against senior leader L K Advani over levelling of corruption charges against him, Naidu said it was not fair to pass comments on the veteran leader as all leaders, including Yeddyurappa had grown under his leadership.
"Advaniji is the tallest and most respected leader across the political forum," he added.
Earlier, anticipating massive crowds, the Maharashtra Government allowed the last rites of 86-year-old Thackeray to be performed at Shivaji Park, where he had addressed his followers on numerous occasions for over four decades. (with PTI inputs)