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Tributes paid to Bal Thackeray

Mumbai, Nov 28 (IANS) Top political leaders from various parties, industrialists and social personalities paid their tributes to late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray at an event here Tuesday.

Thackeray, 86, had passed away following prolonged illness Nov 17 in Mumbai. The public condolence meeting was organised by Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu.

"The Shiv Sena−BJP alliance stayed intact only because of Balasaheb. He was the one who strived hard to maintain relations between the saffron alliances," senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Gopinath Munde said.

Terming Thackeray was a rare personality, BJP leader L. K. Advani said he never saw a leader like him throughout his political career.

"He was original and you cannot get his copy. He never thought or worried about what audience liked but he said whatever he is felt was right," he said.

"The word transparent was meant for Thackeray and he never compromised for what he wanted to say. During the sena bjp alliance government, he gave us a lot of courage and encouraged to face the problems," BJP chief Nitin Gadkari said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and some of his cabinet colleagues were also present at the ceremony, along with a host of personalities from various fields.

Nationalist Congress Party chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, and National Conference chief and Union New And Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah were also present.

Several industrialists including Rahul Bajaj of Bajaj Group, social worker Nanik Rupani, trustee of Lilavati Hospital where Thackeray regularly got treated, Chetan Mehta, former cricketer Madhav Mantri and other dignitaries also praised Thackeray for his quick wit and fearlessness.

However, Thackeray's nephew and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, was not present at the event.