Mumbai, Nov 17 IANS | 9 months ago

Several thousands of people and top political leaders paid homage to the late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on his first death anniversary here Sunday.


Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and his family members were among the first to pay floral tributes to Thackeray at a small memorial garden developed at the spot in Shivaji Park where he was cremated.

A charismatic and fiery speaker, Thackeray passed away Nov 17 last year. A day later, his public funeral was held at Shivaji Park with nearly two million mourners in attendance.

After a year, the cremation site has been converted into 'Smruti Udyan', an 800-square feet, beautifully landscaped garden with 15 varieties of colourful flowers swaying in the cool early winter breeze blowing from the Arabian Sea, barely a stone's throw away.

Several hundreds of people, including thousands of party activities from Mumbai, Maharashtra and other parts of India, queued up since early morning to pay their tributes to the leader.

Later, Maharashtra Governor K. Sankaranarayanan, Shiv Sena ally Bharatiya Janata Party senior leader L.K. Advani, Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde, ally Republican Party of India (A) chief Ramdas Athawale, some state cabinet ministers, and past and present party activists paid tributes to Thackeray's memory.

Many activists recalled the late Thackeray's contributions to building the Shiv Sena into a powerful force and lauded son Uddhav's leadership in taking the party ahead as the country approaches election.

Besides the main commemoration at Shivaji Park, party units in Mumbai and across the state have organised blood donation camps, 'rangoli' and drawing events, and other social activities to remember Thackeray.

Senior leader Subhash Desai's three-day commemoration event, 'Thackeray Dynasty', concluded and saw senior party leaders and old colleagues of the late Sena chief recalling their memories with him.

Thackeray founded the Shiv Sena in July 1966 from his former residence near Shivaji Park.

That year in October (1966), Thackeray held his first Dussehra Rally at the venue which became an annual signature event that was conducted with much fan-fare.

(Posted on 17-11-2013)