The city slowed down with people staying indoors as news of Bal Thackeray’s ailing health spread on Thursday morning.
President Pranab Mukherjee also cancelled his trip to the city. Mukherjee was to attend the Jamnalal Bajaj Awards function on Thursday evening, which has been postponed.
“When we heard about Thackeray’s critical condition on Wednesday night, we decided not to conduct the event,” said Rahul Bajaj, chairman, Bajaj Auto. “It was not for security reasons but due to the sensitivity of the matter,” he added.
Several shop owners thought it best to keep their shutters down. “We shut shop in the morning after news spread about Thackeray’s ill-health,” said Sanjay Jain, who operates the Sanjay General Stores in Mahim. “We might keep the shop shut on Friday as well,” he said.
Many Mumbaiites also faced transport woes as several autorickshaws and taxis went off the road. “I couldn’t see a cab on the road at Marine Lines. I had to walk quite a distance before I found one,” said Gaurav Thakkar who works for a financial consultancy firm.
An auto driver from Malad, Ramasheesh Pratap had to forego his day’s earnings of Rs1,000 as he chose not to work.
“I thought there could be trouble in the city, which is why I decided not to work today, though I was expecting more customers on the occasion of Bhaubeej,” he said.
Businesses decided to stay shut too. “We were planning to resume work today, but many employees did not step out of their homes,” said Mukesh Chatwal, a Sion-based businessman.