Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Saturday turned 84 and used the occasion to make it clear that he remains at the helm of the saffron party’s affairs.
“I have the remote control of politics and the remote control will continue to remain with me,” Mr. Thackeray said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’
Five years ago, Mr. Thackeray had announced his retirement from active politics, making way for son Uddhav to take over reins of the party.
“The sapling (Sena) I planted 45 years ago has grown into a vine, which reached the power centre in Delhi,” he said.
He emphasised that the ‘Marathi manoos’ was the centre of “our thoughts and will remain so“.
In a letter to Shiv Sainiks, also published in Saamana, Mr. Thackeray said, “I don’t have the energy I had earlier due to old age. I have just come back from illness, so won’t be able to meet you at Matoshree....but I am close to you from my heart. You have Uddhav. He will greet you at Matoshree“.
Matoshree is Mr. Thackeray’s residence in suburban Bandra and Sena workers throng his house on his birthday every year.
In an article in the newspaper, film actor Nana Patekar described Mr. Thackeray as a “steel personality“.
“He calls me regularly. I have not seen such a person who is so sentimental despite being in politics,” the actor said.