Oct 19, 2006 at 04:54pm IST

Raj's exit a personal blow: Balasaheb

Mumbai: In an emotional outburst, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray has said his nephew Raj Thackeray's exit from the party was a "huge personal blow" and he was immensely hurt by his protege's decision to quit.

"The grief at his actions is immense. He cannot be compared to people like Narayan Rane and Chaggan Bhujbal who rebelled against the Sena. He was our own flesh and blood."

Everyday I try to forget what he did, but cannot," Thackeray said in an interview to Maharashtra Times.

PINING FOR RAJ: Bal Thackeray said Raj cannot be compared to people like Rane and Bhujbal.

"He was raised here at Matoshree, played with other children. I never expected that he would go so far. I don't know who misguided him, but they did so to fulfil their own gains," Thackeray said.

Last year, Raj, who many considered a natural successor to Thackeray, announced his decision to quit the Shiv Sena and floated the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

When asked about Raj's future in politics, Thackeray said, "He has taken the plunge in a hurry, now he has to decide his future himself."

Thackeray also dwelt on the exit of Bhujbal and Rane, saying Rane left because he was "hungry for power".

"He is an honest and straight-forward man, but he was blinded by his thirst for power. He was misled by the two ladies (Maharashtra Congress chief Prabha Rau and AICC general secretary Margaret Alva)."

Thackeray spoke on the future of the Sena and the 'Marathi manus', saying, "Who else but the Shiv Sena can secure the future of Maharashtrian? There should be a feeling that this is my state, my Maharashtra.

"There are bomb blasts, people are dying everywhere, and yet the Deputy Chief Minister and Police Commissioner A N Roy insist that they are prepared," he said.

When asked for a message for the youth, Thackeray said, "The youth of the country should learn to have no expectation from the government. You have to protect yourself and it is up to them as to how they do it."