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Pic by Rons Bantwal - Daijiworld News Network - Mumbai

MUMBAI, March 10: Raj Thackeray, the nephew of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, on Thursday announced the formation of his new political party - Maharashtra Nav Nirman Sena - but insisted he still had 'deep respect' for his uncle.

"I will talk about the new party in detail on March 19. I will answer all your questions then. So, please hold your queries till then," Raj Thackeray told a crowded press conference here.

Asked about his uncle, Thackeray said: "I still have deep respect for him".

Raj, who quit the Shiv Sena following differences with cousin and Sena executive chief Uddhav, also unveiled the party's new blue, saffron and green flag.

Raj Thackeray had once been considered his uncle's political heir but the Shiv Sena chief eventually opted in favour of his son, Uddhav Thackeray.

Before announcing the new party, Thackeray performed a 'puja' at his home and also visited the popular Siddhivinayak Temple.

He garlanded a bust of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Raj, however, conspicuously abstained from mentioning the name of Bal Thackeray, whom the young leader has given the status of his "god".

Reacting to the new party, Congress spokesperson Sanjay Nirupam said: "It does not matter who forms which party. It's a democracy after all. But one should not indulge in divisive politics and create trouble in the name of religion, region, caste and creed."

State BJP chief Nitin Gadkari wished Thackeray well. "We wish Raj very well," he said.

  

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