We had political differences, but our families shared close bond: Sule

The Thackeray and Pawar families share a close rapport and this connection has remained intact for decades, said Supriya Sule, Baramati MP and daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. "Though we have political differences, it did not affect relation between the two families. My father and Balasaheb remained very good friends and their friendship goes back to five decades," she said.

Sule said that Kaka, as she fondly addressed Thackeray, was a regular visitor to their residence in Mumbai. "We too often visited their residence," she said. On the criticisms made by Thackeray through his speeches or in Sena mouthpiece Saamana against her father, Sule said, "I never sought any justification from him for the criticism. My father also took them in his stride. After all, these were political attacks... At personal level, our families shared a close bond." She said Balasaheb referred to her father as Sharadbabu.

Paying her condolences, Sule said, "Maharashtra has suffered an irreparable loss in the death of the most firebrand leader. He was broad-minded, liberal and a leader who had spoken freely what he thought was right."

Walking down the memory lane, Sule said, "It was fun to interact with him. He was such a jocular person. He could speak on a range of subjects which gave an insight into this knowledgeable mind. And you could listen him for hours."

Sule said over five years ago she and her father had gone to the Thackeray residence. "When we reached there, Balasaheb inquisitively inquired from my father about his (Balasaheb's) girlfriend. For a moment I was taken aback. Balasaheb quickly reacted that he was looking for his cigar, his pipe," she said. The Sena chief, said Sule, never held himself back.

"He liked his cigar, his wine and warm beer. And he said this openly. Balasaheb never pretended that he never liked these things. He was straightforward and pointblank..."

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