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Thackeray said to be critical, bandhs in Sena strongholds

BS Reporter/Mumbai 16 Nov 12 | 12:15 AM

A large number of Shiv Sena supporters thronged ‘Matoshree’, the residence of party supremo Bal Thackeray, on Thursday to enquire about the ailing leader, said to be in critical condition. Party leaders, including Subhash Desai and Sanjay Raut, announced Thackeray was stable.

While a large number of policemen were deployed to rein in the growing crowds outside Matoshree, a bandh was observed in many Sena strongholds, including Dadar, Parel and Mahim. Thin traffic was seen on both the eastern and western express highways.

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“The condition of Bal Thackeray is stable; he is responding to the treatment. There is nothing to worry about," Raut said, adding the Sena chief had been taken off the life-support system this morning. “There is no need to rush to Mumbai. As of now, Balasaheb is doing fine. There is no need to panic," he told party supporters.

A host of political and business leaders, including Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari, BJP’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Gopinath Munde, state home minister R R Patil and former Lok Sabha speaker Manohar Joshi visited Matoshree on Thursday. Business leaders who called on the ailing party chief included Bajaj Group Chairman Rahul Bajaj, L&T Executive Chairman A M Naik and Videocon Chairman Venugopal Dhoot. Bal Thackeray’s estranged nephew, Raj Thackeray, also called on him.

Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, who spent a few hours at Matoshree on Thursday, later tweeted, “Balasaheb Thackeray: a fighter all his life, fights his life!! Prayers needed now! When I fought for my life after the Coolie accident, he came to visit me in the hospital, with a cartoon he had drawn — Yamraj defeated! Yamraj, the God of death, defeated by me…wish I was as proficient a cartoonist as him. For tonight, I would wish to draw that for him."

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has been monitoring the law and order situation in the state, owing to the concerns over Thackeray’s health. A senior government official said Chavan held a meeting last night with the chief secretary and senior police officials. Since this morning, Chavan has kept in touch with Thackeray’s family.

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