Mumbai, Nov 18 () : India’s top industrialists described the late Bal Thackeray as pro-industry and a man who wanted Maharashtra’s industrialisation to grow and provide jobs to fellow Maharashtrians.
Rahul Bajaj who knew Thackeray very well said the Sena leader helped him to solve a trade dispute at his Bajaj auto unit. He was always full of jokes and never was an occasion that the leader was seen gloomy. He recalled a joke where Thackeray equated Bajaj’s habit of having a drink with lunch to his own stubbornness of having only vegetarian food.
Anand Mahindra of Mahindra and Mahindra said that the late Sena leader had only one goal and that was to make Maharashtra the top State of the nation and that Maratha pride was upheld.
HDFC Chairman Parekh too echoed the similar view and said that he had lunches with him on a number of occasions and the topic often veered towards industrial growth of the State. Parek said that though many of the corporate leaders were not on the same political platform with Thackeray, they all respected him for his pro-industry view.
Niranjan Hiranandani, Hiranandani Constructions MD, said that Thackeray never aspired for position in the Government and though he could have even become the CM he did not even think about it. His ideology never came in the way of growth of industry in the State, he added.
Filmdom especially Bollywood had a special relationship with Thackeray though the Sena leader often took potshots at them. The first actor from South India to mourn the death of Thackeray was Rajinikanth who is a Maharashtrian by birth. In his condolence message, he termed the passing away of the Sena chieftain as a loss of a father figure. Thackeray’s idol was Chathrapathi Sivaji and Rajinikanth’s real name is Sivaji Rao Gaekwad.
Asha Bhonsle and her elder sister Lata Mangeshkar who used to call Thackeray as brother too expressed grief and said citizens of Maharashtra were orphaned.