After initial reports that only a state minister will pay tributes at the makeshift memorial of Thackeray at Shivaji Park, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reached the venue with several of his cabinet colleagues in tow.
Fadnavis, while effusively praising Thackeray, one of the architects of the saffron alliance that lasted 25 years before coming apart ahead of the Assembly poll, announced setting up a committee to go into the issue of construction of a memorial, a long-standing demand of the Sena.
"Bal Thackeray was like a father figure to us. We have gained a lot from his blessings. There can be no person like him in Maharashtra," he told reporters.
Fadnavis had yesterday said the door for talks with Sena had not been closed. "The doors for talks with Sena are not closed. In politics such a thing never happens. Talks are possible," he had said in Nagpur yesterday.
He said a committee under the Chief Secretary will be constituted to discuss construction of a memorial "suitable to Thackeray's status". Uddhav Thackeray and leaders of other political parties will be on the panel.
Fadnavis had won a controversial confidence vote last Wednesday after NCP declared outside support to his minority government. As the confidence motion was passed by a voice vote, there was an uproar by Sena and Congress, with the two parties petitioning Governor C Vidyasar Rao to direct the government to seek a fresh vote in which its strength be determined through a division of votes.
NCP Legislature Party leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar too disapproved of the manner in which the motion was passed by voice vote. NCP chief Sharad Pawar had earlier said he cannot guarantee the survival of the BJP government for its full five-year term.
After comments from the Pawars, there have been talks of the possibility of BJP and Sena coming together to form a stable government but no clear signals from the two parties have come yet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi too appeared to reach out to Shiv Sena when he took to microblogging website Twitter to pay tributes to Thackeray and "salute the great man".

Latest News from State News Desk