Modi greets Thackeray on his birthday

Greeting Bal Thackeray on his birthday today, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has described the Shiv Sena chief as a `straightforward` leader.

Updated: Jan 23, 2012, 15:18 PM IST

Mumbai: Greeting Bal Thackeray on his
birthday today, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has
described the Shiv Sena chief as a `straightforward` leader.

"Balasaheb is a straightforward leader... He always
fought for Hindutva," Sena mouthpiece `Saamana` quoted Modi as
saying.

"A personality like his comes once in a century," Modi
said, on the occasion of Thackeray turning 86 today. "He gave
all in the national interest and ruled people`s hearts," the
CM said.

The Sena chief’s birthday was celebrated with enthusiasm
with thousands of activists across the state visiting his
residence Matoshri in suburban Bandra.

A `rudrakshtula` of Thackeray was performed by the
Nepali Shramik Mazdoor Union. The `rudraksh` were later given
to those gathered. At the Juhu beach, sculptor Lakshmi Kamble
made a sand portrait of the Sena patriarch, drawing a throng
of admirers.

In a message to supporters, Thackeray said he would
not be able to meet them like he did in the past. "Then,
meeting you was my tonic. It still is. However, I don`t have
the same strength I had earlier," he said.

Talking to reporters at Matoshri, Thackeray replied to
queries on his praise by Modi. "How do I know why he praised
me? Ask him, why he praised me," he said. "Or is it a paid
news like there is paid news in media," he quipped.

Reacting to remarks by estranged nephew, MNS chief Raj
Thackeray, that Sena had lost people`s support, the Sena
chief said, "does he (Raj) have a machine to monitor people`s
minds?"

Meanwhile, in an editorial in `Saamana`, Thackeray flayed
party`s Lok Sabha member from Kalyan, Anand Paranjpe, who has
joined NCP. "There is no place in history for
traitors," he said.

PTI