Man Friday till the end

Thapa is part of the Nepali Shramik Mazdoor Sangh, which is an association of Nepalis under the Shiv Sena. It has put hoardings across the city designating Thapa as its leader

Considered Bal Thackeray's Man Friday, Champa Singh Thapa was by his side for over 30 years, cooking for him and helping him in his daily schedule. On Sunday, Thapa saw the leader off on his last journey, performing the last rites along with the rest of the family.

Thapa would shadow Thackeray around his house and be present at each of his public appearances. He would often be on duty from evening till morning. A resident of the Terai region, he was fluent in Marathi and helped Thackeray learn a smattering of Nepali during their decades-long association.

Earlier this year, when Thackeray traveled to Thane to address an election rally, Thapa helped him up the stairs and stood behind him and handed him, as necessary, a handkerchief, a glass of water or papers to read out from.

A Sena leader recalled how Thackeray often liked the simple staple of "dal khichdi" that Thapa cooked. Often during tours outside Mumbai, Thapa would reach the location a day in advance and oversee the preparations. Over the last few years, Thapa would religiously maintain Thackeray's medical routine

Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe recalled that in June 2011, when Baba Ramdev was arrested in Delhi, the party wanted to issue a statement and she had to speak to Thackeray. "I called up and spoke to Thapa. He immediately got me to speak to Balasaheb. It showed his understanding of issues," said Gorhe.

Thapa is part of the Nepali Shramik Mazdoor Sangh, which is an association of Nepalis under the Shiv Sena. It has put hoardings across the city designating Thapa as its leader.

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