Champa Singh Thapa and Moreshwar Raje who had served former Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray at his residence 'Matoshree' for almost three decades on Monday joined the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde here.
Thapa, the trusted Man Friday of the Sena patriarch, had served him devotedly for 27 years before the Thackeray senior's death in November 2012.
Raje, who used to attend phone calls at 'Matoshree' for Bal Thackeray, had spent at least 35 years in the Thackeray residence in suburban Bandra in Mumbai.
Chief Minister Shinde, an MLA from Thane, welcomed Thapa and Raje to the fold by offering them shawls and greeting them.
"On this auspicious occasion of Navaratra, everyone is happy that (pandemic-related) restrictions on festivals had been lifted. There is huge enthusiasm which is the need of the hour," he said and added that the joining of Thapa and Raje, who were like shadows of Bal Thackeray, had added to the pleasant atmosphere of festivities.
Shinde said the duo decided to join his faction as he represents the "real" Shiv Sena and is taking forward the teachings of the Sena founder and Hindutva.
"Balasaheb used to do straight talking and used to be blunt. People knew Balasaheb well and hence they did not accept the Sena's alliance with Congress and NCP under the Maha Vikas Aghadi," he said.
Palghar Zilla Parishad president Vaidehi Vadan and some members of the local body also joined the Shinde faction on the occasion.