As news of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s health spread on Thursday, Mumbai seemed paralysed with anxiety and concern. Senior Sena leaders, however, said the 86-year-old was showing signs of improvement.
Addressing a crowd outside the Thackeray residence, Matoshree, late Thursday night, Shiv Sena executive president and Thackeray’s son Uddhav said, “Balasaheb’s health is stable and he is responding to medications.”
Sena MP Sanjay Raut said he was taken off the life support system. But there was no medical bulletin issued by doctors.
The city, however, continued to be on the edge. Shops remained shut in several parts, autorickshaws and taxis went off the road anticipating law and order problems and even the film industry called off most shootings in and across the city.
Meanwhile, thousands of Sena workers from across the state continued to throng towards Matoshree, the Thackeray residence in Bandra where the Sena chief is being treated by doctors.
Among the VIPs who paid a visit were CM Prithviraj Chavan, governor K Sankaranarayan, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari, Rahul Bajaj and Salman Khan.
Thackeray’s ill-health didn’t draw attention from hardcore Sainiks alone. Some, who had switched sides to join his estranged nephew Raj’s party, the MNS, also came to show their loyalty to the Sena supremo.
“Our leader, Rajsaheb, himself worships Balasaheb and so do we. While we may be in a different party now, it’s still Shiv Sena’s blood which flows in our veins,” said an MNS activist from Parel, Sena’s stronghold.
Thackeray has not been keeping well since July when he was admitted to Lilavati hospital where he was being treated for ailments related to both the lungs and pancreas.
His health deteriorated on Wednesday and a team of doctors was trying for his recovery.