Ruling PMC remained an unfulfilled dream

Balasaheb Thackeray's dream of unfurling the saffron flag at Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) headquarters remained unfulfilled. During his last speech in the city in 2002, Thackeray had made an impassioned appeal to Puneities to give Shiv Sena a chance to serve the city by handing over a single party rule.

However, the party never came to power on its own or with its ally BJP. The closest it came to power was after the 2007 PMC polls when the Sena formed the Pune-Pattern by joining hands with the Sharad Pawar-led NCP. But Sena's tryst with power remained short-lived as NCP went back to Congress after Sena decided to break off ties with it.

"In his speech in 2002, he had exhorted the Puneites to give Sena a chance to serve them in the PMC with full majority," said Ramesh Bodke, a senior Sena leader from the city. Bodke quotes Thackeray: "Don't give us a half (ardhavat) rule. Give me a chance and I will change the face of the city. We have been ruling Mumbai for quite a long time but nature of the city is such that there's not much scope left to change in Mumbai. But in Pune a lot of things can be done. Give us a change."

Bodke also recalls Thackeray's love for the city. He would visit authors such as Ram Nagarkar, Vasant Vaidya and Shivaji Sawant.

"In 1978, Sawant, author of Mrityunjaya, met with an accident and he wasn't doing financially too well. Balasaheb was very fond of him. He visited him convinced him to accompany him to Mumbai for treatment. I was personally asked to ferry Sawant to Mumbai which I did. And he was admitted to Jaslok Hospital where he underwent treatment for a month and the expenditure was borne by Balasaheb."

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