Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s condition remained critical on Thursday, leaving Mumbai on the edge.
Many Mumbaiites woke up to empty roads and shut shops in several of the Sena’s strongholds in the city including Dadar, Parel and Lalbaug.
With emotions among Sena activists and supporters running high, many of the city’s residents refused to take any chances and stayed indoors.
“We were planning to resume work after a long Diwali break, but many employees from the central suburbs did not step out of their homes,” said Mukesh Chatwal, a Sion-based businessman.
Shivaji Park resident Vijay Deshpande, a retired pilot, gauged the tension sweeping the city during his morning walk. “I realised the situation was going to get worse, so I decided to buy enough milk to stock up for the next two days,” said the 70-year-old.
With several auto-rickshaws and taxis staying off the roads, many Mumbaiites who had to venture out faced transport woes.
“I was trying to hail a cab from Bombay Hospital at Marine Lines to my workplace at Nariman Point but couldn’t see one for a long time. I had to walk quite a distance before I found one,” said Gaurav Thakkar who works for a financial consultancy firm.
Ramasheesh Pratap, an auto driver from Malad, said, “I thought there could be trouble and decided not to work.”
Dadar resident Muthu Kumar had trouble finding a petrol station that was open. Taxi drivers also faced similar problems as gas stations were closed.
Most film shoots were also called off at Film City and other studios, said Naresh Mohnot, executive committee member of the Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association.
The Mumbai Police, having learnt its lessons from Wednesday night, formed a strong security cordon around Matoshree, the Thackeray residence in Bandra.