State funeral for Bal Thackeray, calm city lines up
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Ex-Sena leader Chhagan Bhujbal, who had got Thackeray arrested after becoming the NCP's deputy chief minister, and Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam, who also broke away from the saffron party, were among those present.
Mumbai itself had turned into virtually a ghost city, with not a taxi or an autorickshaw in sight and markets, restaurants, cinema theatres and muliplexes remaining closed.
As the firebrand leader's final journey began from Matoshree, Uddhav could not control emotions and broke down atop the flower-bedecked truck carrying among others his wife Rashmi and sons Tejas and Aditya, the 'Yuva Sena' chief.
Conspicuous by his absence from the truck carrying a massive poster of Thackeray against the image of the tiger, the Sena's symbol, was MNS boss Raj Thackeray, who chose to walk some distance with the mourners before leaving to take care of arrangements for the funeral at Shivaji Park.
As the procession inched towards Shiv Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters, tens of thousands of supporters and onlookers lined the streets, balconies and flyovers, with many clambering atop lamp posts and trees to get a glimpse. Many showered the mourners with flower petals.
The cortege made a brief halt at the headquarters, built by Thackeray in 1977, where his body was kept for top party leaders to pay homage. It was out of bounds for the common Sena workers.
The pyre was erected on a platform at the very place from where Thackeray addressed Sena workers during his famous Dussehra rallies and where he delivered his first speech to his rabble-rousing supporters after the launch of the party on June 19, 1966.
The doctors who made a failed attempt to save Thackeray's life and who looked after him for years were the first to pay floral tributes to him when his body draped in the national flag and sporting a red Tilak and his trademark dark glasses was kept on a stage before the final rites were performed.