Monday’s bandh will be a competition between the Shiv Sena and its nemesis, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), as they flex their muscles to prove supremacy.
This is the first bandh the MNS is participating in and its cadre has been asked to be visible in enforcing it.
“We will make sure bandh is complete,” an MNS leader said. “If we stop a couple of trains, our major work will be done. We are not working with the Sena but will avoid any unnecessary tussle with them.”
The Sena has asked regional party heads to “coordinate” the day’s events.
“Whenever the Sena has supported a bandh, the shut down has been complete. We do not require any party’s support to prove this," said a senior leader.
The Sena has said government notices will not stop them. “So far, no Sena leaders have been arrested. The police have issued notices to party leaders asking them to refrain from participating in the bandh,” said Sena spokesperson Subhash Desai.
Most Sena and MNS leaders went underground on Sunday to evade arrest. The MNS has already warned shopkeepers in Fort, Zaveri Bazaar and Bhuleshwar against defying the bandh.
The BJP has also appealed to traders to keep businesses shut. The party's National general secretary Gopinath Munde and state president Sudhir Mungattiwar will be in Mumbai to ensure that the bandh is successful.
The state government, however, has done little to crack down on mischief-mongers. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Home Minister R.R. Patil warned of stern action against those who indulge in violence and damage property but the police had not detained any prominent leaders until Sunday evening.
Patil said the government will initiate legal action to recover damages to government or private property. “Action will also be taken if anybody is found forcing people to join bandh,” he said.
Additional Chief Secretary Chandra Iyengar said, “Video cameras and notices with preventive arrests will work as a deterrent against violence.”
The railways, meanwhile are wondering how to save the windscreens of their new trains from stone pelting.