Remembering Bal Thackeray as a great friend of the industry, captains of India Inc today said they have been saddened by the death of the Shiv Sena patriarch.
"He was a legend and commanded respect from people irrespective of their ideologies due to his eloquence and charisma," HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh told PTI, reacting to the death of the 86-year-old this afternoon.
Stating that Maharashtra has lost a patriarch, Parekh reminisced about the multiple evenings he had spent with the Shiv Sena founder and said the late leader was a "visionary" and pro-industry.
Bajaj Auto chairman Rahul Bajaj recalled how Thackeray helped in sorting out a workers-related issue at his manufacturing facility saying he had great relations with the Shiv Sena supremo even though he had ideological differences with him.
"We had different political views. But I have thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from the multiple dinners and a few lunches I have had with him," Bajaj, who also visited the Sena chief's residence during his illness a couple of days back, said.
Auto major Mahindra and Mahindra chairman Anand Mahindra tweeted, "Thackeray was both revered and feared. Maharashtra was his pride and passion. Citizens of this state will miss their champion".
Hiranandani Constructions MD Niranjan Hiranandani said, "He (Thackeray) never aspired to be either the chief minister or any other position of power in terms of government or authority. He was proactive about business and wanted Maharashtra to progress".
Hiranandani said there was never an occasion when the Sena chief did not show his lighter side and interspersed conversation with his sense of humour.
"There was never an occasion when I met and he did not have a joke to share," he said.
Bajaj also echoed similar sentiments, reminiscing how Thackeray used to talk disdainfully of his strictly vegetarian eating habits but also appreciated that the industrialist consumed alcohol.
Describing the late Shiv Sena supremo as a strong leader, Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata said Thackeray always believed in his principles.
"Balasaheb Thackeray was a strong leader of his people - respected and admired by many. He was outspoken but driven by his principles," Tata said in his condolence message.
"My condolences go out to the members of his family. He has left his mark on Mumbai and Maharashtra, and will be missed by many," Tata said.