MUMBAI (TIP): Sporadic updates on Bal Thackeray’s deteriorating health kept Mumbai on tenterhooks all through Wednesday night and Thursday even as hundreds of Shiv Sena supporters began arriving from various parts of the state to keep a vigil outside his residence in Bandra. CM Prithviraj Chavan reviewed security arrangements and the Centre deployed paramilitary forces for a contingency plan.
Around 11pm on Thursday, Uddhav Thackeray, Sena CEO and Bal Thackeray’s son, came out of Matoshree, the Thackeray residence accompanied by son Aditya and told supporters his father is recovering and “we will leave no stone unturned to bring him back. There is power in prayers and he needs your prayers”. He again asked them to remain calm. Earlier, sporadic incidents of stonethrowing and vandalism were reported from some areas, but the police were quick to round up suspects and douse the tension. However, most autos and taxis stayed off the roads, leaving commuters stranded, especially in the Sena’s pocketboroughs in Bandra, Vile Parle, Dadar, Matunga and Bhandup. Taxis refused to ply at the airports, inconveniencing fliers. Passengers also found it difficult to book fleet cabs. Four incidents of stone-pelting at buses — two at Lalbaug, one at Andheri and the other at Sion — were reported. No one was injured. BEST operated 30% fewer buses than usual.
hops and restaurants in the traditional Sena strongholds of Dadar, Parel and parts of Matunga and Mahim remained shut, partly on account of a holiday for Bhau Bheej, but as much due to apprehensions that Sena cadres may turn violent in reaction to news of their 86- year-old leader’s precarious condition. A pub in Andheri (W) was vandalized and its employees attacked allegedly by Sena activists on Wednesday night for not shutting down.