MUMBAI: Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant has demanded that party supremo Bal Thackeray be accorded the status of a "national hero" and that his photo be put up in all government offices of the state.
In a letter written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday, Sawant stated that Thackeray's contribution to Maharashtra's development is immense and, "without vying for any political gains", he ensured that Marathi-speaking people excel in various fields.
"Marathi-speaking people in the state did not get justice even after the formation of Maharashtra and thus, Balasaheb Thackeray found the Shiv Sena that gave Marathi speaking people a platform to get justice and what is due to them," he said in the letter.
Thackeray's contribution to Marathi language, the state's culture, and the cultural, political, educational and financial development of Marathi people is immense, he said.
"He lived a simple life and despite not taking up the reigns of power, he made sure Marathi people did exceptional work in various fields," he mentioned. "The state government should declare such a nationalist person a national hero and according to protocol, his photo should be in every government office in the state," the Sena leader demanded in the letter.
Sawant told PTI that Thackeray always believed in service to the country and that "if any person, irrespective of religion, has love for India and is willing to sacrifice his life for it, he is a patriot".
"Balasaheb has done immense service to people in his lifetime. He was a man who did not ever ask for any lucrative position in the government and spent his entire life for the uplift of Maharashtra, poor and the downtrodden.
He has ensured dignity for the common man and he deserves to be called a national hero. If there can be other people's photo in government offices, why not his?" he said.