We owe our political identities to Thackeray: Bhujbal, Rane

Taking a trip down the memory lane, former Shiv Sena leaders Chhagan Bhujbal and Narayan Rane, who are currently ministers in the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra, today said they owe their political identities to their erstwhile party.

"Shiv Sena gave us our identity in politics. Had there been no Shiv Sena or Bal Thackeray, Chhagan Bhujbal or Narayan Rane would not have been in Maharashtra politics. Same is the case with Raj Thackeray," both Bhujbal and Rane said.

They were participating in a programme organised by the Mantralaya and Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh to condole the passing away of the Shiv Sena supremo last week.

The 86-year old Sena patriarch was also the founder-editor of Marathi newspaper 'Saamana' and an acclaimed cartoonist, who started off his career with the Free Press Journal.

Rane recalled that after he quit the Sena in 2005 due to differences with Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, he had spoken to his mentor twice over telephone.

"When Uddhav published a book on his photographs, a copy was sent to me for my comments. I wrote back appreciating the work. Balasaheb called me and said he appreciated my remarks praising Uddhav's work. There was no politics involved. On another occasion, he telephoned to tell me not to keep enmity with Uddhav, even though our path of politics is separate," the state Industries minister said.

Rane said Balasaheb lived life 'king size', never feared anybody and always honoured his commitment to others.

"He was a satisfied man. As a charismatic leader, he had friends from all sections of the society," he added. Rane said, in the last one week he has been asked if he valued Shiv Sena so much, why did he quit.

"This is a moment to pay homage and tributes to one's mentor. I do not intend to score political points. Balasaheb has given me enough in politics during his lifetime," he added.

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