'This used to be Bal Thackeray's home away from home'

'This used to be Bal Thackeray's home away from home'
Pune: Another old friend of Thackerays' was city-based builder Agasti Kanitkar in whose flat the Shiv Sena surpemo used to live for over 15 years during visits to the city.

When Kanitkar heard that Thackeray's health was stated to be critical but stable, he sincerely believed that he would improve. According to Kanitkar, Thackeray used to reside in his fifth floor flat in Samarth Apartments at Mukund Nagar whenever he was visiting the city.

"Balasaheb Thackeray was a frequent visitor to the city before he got busy with political activities. I specially built a guesthouse for Thackeray in Mukund Nagar where he used to stay with 'maa saheb' (Bal Thackeray's wife). I remember this hardcore non-vegetarian food lover turn pure vegetarian after attending a Jain community event in Mumbai," Kanitkar said.

Early days
In the early 90s, another place Thackeray used to stay at was Hotel Shreyas on Apte Road. "In 1996, he conducted a press conference in our hotel where reporters asked him why he always chose to stay in Shreyas instead of any deluxe hotel.

He replied that he stayed here because it's a 'marathi manoos' hotel," said Sheryas hotel owner, Chintamani Chitale, adding that Thackeray's favourite dish was 'Thalipith'.

BJP MLA Girish Bapat, while recalling the 1991 by-election in the city, said, "Balasaheb had specifically come to the city to campaign for me against Congress candidate Vasant Thorat, who had a stronghold in Kasaba constituency. Balasaheb had criticized the Congress and mesmerized the audience with his peculiar eloquence."