INDIA. Mumbai: Notwithstanding a split in his party, hordes of Shiv Sena party workers spontaneously came forward to celebrate the 62nd birthday of the former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Party Chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday.
A large number of the party workers reached Matoshri at Bandra East in North West Mumbai on Tuesday at midnight for birthday celebrations. They were greeted by Uddhav’s wife Rashmi, son Aditya and others.
A heavy crowd of the Shiv Sainiks was seen at “Matoshri” on Wednesday. Thackeray personally interacted with visitors and accepted their good wishes.
The party workers across the state organized bike rallies, distributed sweets, and offered prayers in temples wishing long life to Thackeray.
The high light of the celebration was the presentation of Uddhav’s portrait painted by Sarang Dharne from Pune, using his own blood. Dharne told the media that he used the three syringes’ blood to paint the portrait.
A similar portrait of Uddhav, drawn with his own blood, was presented to Uddhav’s son Aditya, by a Muslim Shiv Sena worker, during his recent “Shiv Sampark Abhiyan” (a mass contact campaign) in Shirdi (Ahmednagar).
Thackeray had appealed to the Shiv Sainiks to give him the letters pledging their support to the Shiv Sena rather than a gift or a bouquet. Thackeray got the desired gift when the Shiv Sainiks from Nashik presented him with 10,000 affidavits to support him and the party.
The party workers implemented different concepts to wish their beloved leader. In Beed, an Abhishek (a bath offered to the deity) was offered in Someshwar Temple.
Similarly, the prayers were offered at Shri Vithoba shrine at Pandharpur in Solapur and Renukamata Mandir in the Yavatmal district. In Pune, Shiv Sena workers organized a “Maha aarti” on Thackeray’s birthday.
The motorbike rallies were organized throughout the state, including Kolhapur, Amravati, and Budhana. In Buldhana, the Shiv Sainiks marched on foot to the Gajanan Maharaj shrine at Shegaon.
Many leaders, including rebel Shiv Sena leader Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, extended their birthday wishes through Twitter.
Some of the MLAs and MPs belonging to the breakaway faction referred to him as “Shiv Sena Party Chief”, while some others greeted him without adding the tag of Shiv Sena Chief.
Although Eknath Shinde did not add the tag of the party chief, his son MP Shrikant Shinde referred to Thackeray as the Sena chief in his wishes. Another MP from the Haatkanangale constituency (Kolhapur), Dhairyasheel Mane, who recently joined the Shinde camp, and Nashik MP Hemant Godse, wished Uddhav Thackeray, referring to him as the Sena chief.
Many rebels from the Shinde faction, including former ministers Gulabrao Patil (Jalgaon), Bacchu Kadu (Amravati), MLAs Balaji Kinikar (Ambernath in Thane district), Sanjay Gaikwad (Buldhana), Dnyanraj Choughule (Omarga, Osmanabad), Prakash Surve (Borivali, Mumbai), Kishor Appa Patil (Pachora, Jalgaon), Yamini Jadhav (Byculla, Mumbai), and Yogesh Ramdas Kadam (Dapoli, Ratnagiri) from the Shinde camp, wished Thackeray as the Sena chief.
Some rebel leaders complained that when they tried to release advertisements with birthday wishes to Uddhav Thackeray, in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Marathi daily “Saamna”, their advertisements were not accepted by the “Saamna” staff.
However, Thackeray’s allies in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi referred to him as the Sena chief. NCP chief Sharad Pawar, MP Supriya Sule, and Congress Leader Balasaheb Thorat mentioned Uddhav as the Shiv Sena Chief in their social media messages. Kedar Dighe, a nephew of Thane strongman and Eknath Shinde’s mentor, late Anand Dighe, who is already in Thackeray camp wished him, referring to him as the Shiv Sena Chief.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis were scheduled to visit New Delhi on Thursday.
According to sources, the trio is expected to discuss legalities involved in holding the monsoon session of the state legislature and the cabinet expansion in the light of the pending petitions in the Supreme Court related to the disqualification of MLAs.
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