A large number of Shiv Sena members thronged Matoshree to know the status of ailing party supremo Bal Thackeray and wish him speedy recovery. Heavy police bandobast was deployed to reign in the rising crowd while Sena leaders including Subhash Desai and Sanjay Raut appeared for a while to declare that Thackeray was stable. Desai said Thackeray’s condition was slowly and steadily improving as he has been responding to the treatment.
A spontaneous bandh was observed in Sena strongholds including Dadar, Parel, Mahim while most of traffic on both eastern and western express highways was thin. Mumbaikars’ celebrations of a traditional Bhau Beej was at a low key against the backdrop of news related to Thackeray’s deteriorating conditions.
Raut also informed that Thackeray was stable and doing well. "The condition of Bal Thackeray is stable, he is responding to the treatment, there is nothing to worry about," Raut said. He also said that the Shiv Sena supremo has been off life support since Thursday morning.
No medical bulletin on the ailing 86-year-old leader's condition has been issued as yet, but one of the doctors attending on him said Thackeray was still being administered oxygen.
He also appealed to the Shiv Sena supporters to not panic. "There is no need to rush to Mumbai. As of now, Balasaheb is doing fine. There is no need to panic," Raut said.
A stream of political and business leaders including union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, BJP president Nitin Gadkari, BJP’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde, state home minister RR Patil, Lok Sabha’s former speaker Manohar Joshi, Rahul Bajaj and VN Dhoot visited Matoshree to inquire condition of ailing Thackeray. His estranged nephew Raj Thackeray also reached there.
Amitabh Bachchan who spent quite a few hours at Matoshree later tweeted that prayers were needed at this hour. "Balasaheb Thackeray : a fighter all his life, fights his life !! Prayers needed now! When I fought for my life after 'Coolie' accident, he came to visit me in hospital, with a cartoon he had drawn - Yamraj defeated ! Yamraj - God of Death, defeated by me..wish I was as proficient a cartoonist as he, for tonight I would wish to draw that for him," he tweeted.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has been continuously monitoring law and order situation in the State in view of the deteriorating health of Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray.
A senior state government official said Chavan had held a high level meeting last night with the chief secretary and top police officials. Since Thursday morning, the chief minister has been in constant touch with family members of Thackeray.