An oil portrait of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray was unveiled in the Maharashtra legislative building in Mumbai on Monday in an event boycotted by his son and former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray as the BJP and the ruling Eknath Shinde-led camp sought to lay claim on the late Hindutva icon’s political legacy. Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who heads a faction of the Shiv Sena, and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, unveiled the portrait in the Central Hall of Vidhan Bhavan on the occasion of the 97th birth anniversary of Bal Thackeray.Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya, a former minister and the MLA from Worli in Mumbai, and other family members stayed away from the official event. The father-son duo, along with other prominent members of the Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray), offered floral tributes to the late politician’s statue located a few kilometres away from the Vidhan Bhavan building in south Mumbai.They later attended a programme at Shanmukhananda Hall in Sion organised on the occasion of Bal Thackeray’s birth anniversary.Uddhav Thackeray’s estranged cousin Raj Thackeray, who heads a breakaway faction of the Shiv Sena, MNS, was also present at the event in Vidhan Bhavan.Chief Minister Shinde, who rebelled in June last year against the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray, bringing down his government supported by the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress, has been claiming to take forward ideals of the Sena founder.Mr Shinde, supported by the BJP, later took over as chief minister. The rival factions are claiming to be the ‘real’ Shiv Sena and locked in a bitter dispute over a range of issues that are pending before the Election Commission and the Supreme Court.
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