Sainiks thronged Matoshree, the residence of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, on his 55th birth anniversary on Monday.
A big pandal decorated with lights and flowers was erected on the lane to his house at Kalanagar, Bandra (East), despite Uddhav’s appeal to workers to not celebrate his birthday because of the drought and rising farmer suicides in the state.
While Sena leaders such as Arvind Sawant, Chandrakant Khaire and Anandrao Adsul made their visits earlier in the day, the family ensured that everyone going to Matoshree got to meet Uddhav.
“I can’t buy huge expensive bouquets, but always take few flowers to wish Uddhavji. I used to do the same with Balasaheb (Thackeray).He smiled and bowed down to me,” said Neelam Worlikar, a 65-year-old fisherwomen who stood in a queue for two hours to enter the house.
The celebrations were accompanied with political discussions, with Uddhav’s statements against the BJP and on Pakistan much talked about. “Uddhavji clearly said we should not shake hands with Pakistan. He said in his recent interview that they [Pakistan] will never change. And see what has happened in Punjab after his warning,” said Thane member of Parliament (MP) Rajan Vichare.
Meanwhile, the BJP retaliated to the criticisms – especially those directed at Kolhapur guardian minister Chandrakant Patil – in Kolhapur Municipal council where it has joined hands with a local front Tararani Aghadi, forcing the Sena to fight the election on its own. The group was formed by Congress MLC Mahadevrao Mahadik two decades ago. His son Amal Mahadik is a BJP MLA.
BJP and Shiv Sena have negligible presence in Kolhapur civic body, with three and four corporators respectively in the 77-member corporation. However, both are banking on the success of the Assembly election last year in the hope of a better performance.