Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today condoled the death of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray and called up his son Uddhav even as he appealed to people to maintain calm and sobriety.
"The Prime Minister has condoled the death of Shiv Sena leader Balasaheb Thackeray.... The Prime Minister appealed for calm and sobriety during this period of loss and mourning," the PMO said.
Singh called up Thackeray's son and Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray to express condolences, they said.
The Prime Minister said the interests of Maharashtra were "particulary important" for Thackeray and "he always strived to inculcate a sense of pride in its people."
"He founded the Shiv Sena and built the party into a formidable force in the state politics with his strong leadership. The passing away of Balasaheb will be deeply felt by his family and his followers," he said.
The Prime Minister described Thackeray as a "consummate communicator, whose stature in the politics of Maharashtra was unique."
Thackeray, 86, who roused emotions on Marathi pride and catapulted Shiv Sena to power in Maharashtra in the 1990s, died in Mumbai today after having been critically ill for the past few days.