A decade ago, immediately after Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb’s Thackeray’s death, Thapa in his first ever interview had said, he waited at Matoshree and worked for Balasaheb not for money but for Izzat. Izzat means Respect. And today when he decided to leave that same Matoshree to join Eknath Shinde, it speaks a lot about what exactly is happening with the trusted aides of Balasaheb.
Champa Singh Thapa may not have held any position in the Shiv Sena, but he was one of the closest people to Balasaheb Thackeray for three decades. After the demise of Balasaheb wife Meenatai Thackeray, fondly referred as Maasaheb, it was Thapa who took care of all the needs of Balasaheb, from medication to his daily chores.
Thapa had served Balasaheb for 27 years, he was so close to the Sena patriarch that he had to be given the respect of participating in the last rites of Balasaheb Thackeray that was held in November 2012 at Shivaji Park.
In a 2013 interview post Balasaheb’s death, Thapa had affirmed that Matoshree was his permanent residence and he was never going to leave it.
His reason for staying even after Balasaheb’s death was this, Thapa came to Mumbai in the year 1985 from his hometown in West Nepal. Thapa was working with a private businessman in Goregaon, and within a few months he was spotted by Thackeray’s eldest son Jaidev, who had asked him to work with Balasaheb Thackeray, Thapa readily agreed.
It was just a week into the job, that Balasaheb asked Thapa if he wanted quit and go somewhere else, where he would be paid better, Thapa had stayed quiet. When the same question was once again put to him around two months later, this time he was told by Balasaheb, if Thapa wanted to quit this job, go work somewhere, he would be paid better and will also get some time to spend with family, which he didn’t get while working for Balasaheb. With this Balasaheb had also added one more line, ‘However, Thapa here you will get Izzat.”
Thapa stayed at Matoshree for Izzat, yes the thought that he had come from Nepal to earn money did bother him, while taking the decision of continuing with Balasaheb.
Thapa would take a leave once in two years to visit his family in Nepal, and that had become a bone of contention between him and his wife.
Thapa was a synonym for Balasaheb’s trust, it was he who kept fanning Balasaheb Thackeray during his last ride to Shivaji Park.
Today when Thapa moved his base from Matoshree to Eknath Shinde’s camp he has taken along with him the trust that lakhs of Shivsainiks had in him.
While many would question what is the importance of Thapa switching sides? Then it can be answered in one line, and that is, post the death of Balasaheb, wherever, Thapa went, people would even touch his feet, for serving Balasaheb.
The setback may not be a political one for Uddhav Thackeray, but yes an ethical and moral one. The move of Thapa is being seen in Maharashtra as Uddhav couldn’t take care of Thapa who served Balasaheb Thackeray.
And this message is big enough to cause a dent that cannot be repaired.