Mumbai: He was the real Tiger!
And the respect he evoked across Maharashtra was visible during his last journey.
A sea of humanity was present at Shivaji Park to bid final farewell to Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray here on Sunday.
The Tiger was cremated with full state honours at 6.30pm, with leaders across party lines present at the iconic Shivaji Park. Mumbai Police sounded the ceremonial 'Last Post' in honour of the Sena patriarch.
The Shivaji Park was filled to its capacity. Lakhs of people also waited outside the park shouting slogans for their 'favourite godfather'. Thackeray family's cook Rahul, who shared a special bond with Balasaheb, was also standing next to the pyre.
Sena supremo's nephew Raj broke down as Uddhav, who has not been keeping well since last few months, performed Balasaheb's last rites. Uddhav's brother Jaidev stood by his side.
Jaidev had differences with his father and his ideologies. Balasaheb had thrown him out of Matoshree in 2004 after his divorce with Smita, who chose to stay back with Thackeray, along with her children.
Things came back to normalcy of-late, when Jaidev broke ice with Balasaheb. Though Smita and his son Rahul were present in the procession, Jaidev remained absent.
As per religious norms in Hindu community, the eldest son has to perform the final rites.
A stream of eminent personalities from politics, films and corporate world reached the historic Shivaji Park ground here to attend the last rites of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.
NCP chief and Union Minister Sharad Pawar, BJP veteran LK Advani, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, megastar Amitabh Bachchan and industrialist Anil Ambani arrived at the sprawling ground in Dadar, which is a few metres away from the Sena headquarters.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP leaders Maneka Gandhi and Shahnawaz Hussain, senior Congress leader Dr DY Patil and Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Eknath Khadse too were present at the funeral venue.
Union Minister Praful Patel, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitely, VHP leader Pravin Togadia, Congress leader Rajiv Shukla and Maharashtra PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal were also present.
Bollywood actor Nana Patekar alongside actor-director Mahesh Manjrekar and Riteish Deshmukh were also present.
(With additional inputs from Nishant Bhuse)