Union minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday described Bal Thackeray as a bold leader who often displayed the courage to swim against tide and time and connect with people.
Describing Thackeray as a versatile leader, the Union Minister for Finance and Defence, who was speaking at Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s book launch in Mumbai, said: “A charismatic leader, great cartoonist, writer and communicator, he would display boldness in voicing his concerns on national issues and cross border terrorism without mincing words.”
Jaitley added: “The media must have written more against Bal Thackeray than in his favour. Yet, he would convey his message to the masses across Maharashtra. Late Thackeray was a great communicator.”
He added: “Mahatma Gandhi had this ability to communicate with the people directly. The salt satyagraha was an example of how he held appeal across the masses.”
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray asserted how his party was one of the oldest and loyal alliance partners of the BJP since the time they were treated as political untouchables. Today, when they are in power, everybody is making a beeline to embrace them, he said.
“Balasaheb (Thackeray) would have been happy to see Jaitley as the defense minister,” he said.
Uddhav highlighted the charismatic character of his father and said his confidence was supreme. It was late Thackeray’s Hindutva that laid the foundation for the ruling alliance at Centre and the state, he pointed out.
Recalling how the slogan “Garva Se Kaho Hum Hindu Hain” was given by Bal Thackeray and evoking the “sons of the soil” issue that was integral to Sena’s politics, he said: “Today, West Bengal talks of maa, mati, manush. In the 1960s, Bal Thackeray spoke of Marathi Manus. If the South can have wada-idli, why not vada pav in Maharashtra? If the Tamils can have Amma Canteen, why not the state boast of its Jhunka Bhakar,” Uddhav said.
Earlier, Raut had said: “Even today, it feels as if I am talking to Bal Thackeray daily and writing.”