Thackeray Pawar ties, One evening in Oct 1966, a round-faced, portly man covered in white plonked himself on one of the forms that form a neat circle around Shivaji Park in central Mumbai. He was no out for fresh air, but a ringside view of a rally planned by Shiv Sena, a new sons-of-the-soil outfit started by a former artist, Bal Thackeray. As Thackeray launched into a diatribe against migrants gathering to Mumbai in his 1st speech, the man on the table, Sharad Pawar, a Congress activist from Baramati, adopted intently.
Thackeray Pawar ties, Not that Pawar, who started as a Youth Congress operator and looked up to YB Chavan as his icon, matched with what Thackeray said. He stuck to his party’s view of “unity in diversity,” but knew the ex-cartoonist was not a man to ignore. Pawar had first met Bal Thackeray before the Sena formed; Thackeray’s father, Prabodhankar, was a known figure who routinely invited visitors at his Dadar residence, and Bal had developed a reputation of his own with his brushstrokes. So an acquaintance was in place.
After the inaugural Sena rally, the 2-travelled in many directions politically as the shivSena-Congress bonhomie of the late 1960s and early 1970s forged in their shared resistance to Communists in the city’s mill heartland ended. But a special rapport endured, growing into a familial bond that has now allowed the late Sena founder’s son Uddhav to get over the lines of the state with Pawar as a mover of a 3-party coalition.
Bal Thackeray always connected to Pawar as “Sharad babu” in person, though in a clear division between the individual and the political, he called him a “maidyacha pota” (a sack of flour) in speeches. Their families dined collectively and looked after each other. When Pawar’s girl Supriya was barely a year old, the then Congress leader & his wife Pratibha already had dinner at the Thackerays’ new home, after which Pawar told he’d drive back to his hometown in Pune district. Thackeray sought to dissuade him: it was late, and Supriya was little, so he urged his “dear friend” to stay back and leave in the morning. Pawar, however, insisted ongoing, and by Thackeray’s admission, he was anxious and stayed awake until he’d confirmed over the phone that the Pawars had reached safely.
When Pawar, as NCP chief, decided to nominate Supriya to the Rajya Sabha in 2006, the Sena chief rang him up and told him he was annoyed because he’d heard the news from someone else. Pawar tried to explain that there was no way he could get Sena-BJP votes for her as they had their candidates, but Thackeray persuaded BJP not to put up a saffron alliance candidate against her. “I’ve known Supriya as a child, and she’s played with my children since she was six months old. How could I not see to it that she enters the RS unopposed?” Thackeray asked.
Pawar played a crucial role in getting Sena to back Congress’ Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee for President. At the time of the Sena patriarch’s final illness in 2012, it was Pawar who often gave Uddhav strength.
This time, the barrier between personal and political have breached, and Supriya Sule‘s tweet on Thursday showed the extent of the warmth. “Maa Saheb and Balasaheb -missing you so much now. Both of you should have done here today. They approached me with so much affection and love more than a daughter! Their role in my life will ever be unique and memorable!” Supriya wrote.