Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray has a birthday wish: to become chief minister. “My resolution is to make Maharashtra Congress-free and celebrate next year’s birthday and the birthdays after that in Varsha,” Thackeray said.
Varsha is the official residence of the Maharashtra chief minister.
On Monday, as Sainiks across Maharashtra converged at Kalanagar junction in Bandra (East) to celebrate Thackeray’s birthday, there was traffic chaos.
Thackeray, who turned 49 on Monday, put up a shamiana inside Kalanagar. And from morning itself, it was abuzz with party workers and well-wishers.
They came bearing gifts — from a 10-ft plough, inspired by his campaign against farmers’ suicides in Vidarbha to dhols, garlands, bouquets, and even donation boxes.
A women’s organisation from Thane formed a human pyramid and wished him a long life.
Sainiks from Ambarnath distributed groceries like onions, sugar, palm oil, tur dal at half the market price.
Sena chief Bal Thackeray greeted his son and said he “should flutter the saffron flag over Mantralaya”.
While President Pratibha Patil sent him birthday greetings, industrialist Mukesh Ambani wished him over the phone and actor Amitabh Bachchan sent a bouquet.
And to cash in on the celebrations were hawkers selling stickers, paintings, handwoven images, posters and even pendants with Thackeray’s picture. Others sold CDs and cassettes of the party’s anthem.
The party’s mouthpiece Saamna too cashed in on the occasion.
A 42-page edition filled with advertisements from well-wishers and party workers, worth Rs 7 instead of Rs 2.50, hit the stands on Monday.
The party also put up a huge image of Thackeray on their website.
Huge hoardings and banners at traffic signals and the Bandra skywalk, empty soft drink tetrapacks and plastic bags strewn outside the MHADA office were remainders of the “birthday bash”.