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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thackeray remains critical, keeps city’s heart pounding

Security Beefed Up After Stone-Pelting & Near Shutdown


Mumbai: Sporadic updates on Bal Thackeray's deteriorating health kept Mumbai on tenterhooks all through Wednesday night and Thursday even as hundreds of Shiv Sena supporters began arriving from various parts of the state to keep a vigil outside his residence in Bandra. CM Prithviraj Chavan reviewed security arrangements and the Centre deployed paramilitary forces for a contingency plan. 
    Around 11pm on Thursday, Uddhav Thackeray, Sena CEO and Bal Thackeray's son, came out of Matoshree, the Thackeray residence, accompanied by son Aditya and told supporters his father is recovering and "we will leave no stone unturned to bring him back. There is power in prayers and he needs your prayers". He asked them to remain calm. 
    Earlier, sporadic incidents of stone-throwing and vandalism were reported from some areas, but the police were quick to round up suspects and douse the tension. However, most autos and taxis stayed off the roads, leaving commuters stranded, especially in the Sena's pocketboroughs in 
Bandra, Vile Parle, Dadar, Matunga and Bhandup. Taxis refused to ply at the airports, inconveniencing fliers. Passengers also found it difficult to book fleet cabs. Four incidents of stonepelting at buses — two at Lalbaug, one at Andheri and the other at Sion — were reported. No one was injured. BEST operated 30% fewer buses than usual. 
    Shops and restaurants in the traditional Sena strongholds of Dadar, Parel and parts of Matunga and Mahim remained shut, partly on account of a holiday for Bhau Bheej, but as much due to apprehension that Sena cadres may turn violent in reaction to news of their 86-year-old leader's precarious condition. A pub in Andheri (W) was 
vandalized and its employees attacked allegedly by Sena activists on Wednesday night for not shutting down. 
    On Thursday morning, Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut sought to dispel some of the anxiety. He said Thackeray had been taken off life support systems. His condition was described as critical yet stable. 

TENSE 48 HOURS WEDNESDAY, NOV 14 
8.30pm | MNS chief Raj Thackeray reaches Matoshree, Bal Thackeray's residence 
9pm | News of Thackeray Sr's deteriorating health spreads 
10pm-midnight: Crowd builds up at Matoshree. Amitabh Bachchan and son visit, injured pushing through the crowd. Police beef up security at Kalanagar 
THURSDAY, NOV 15 
2am | Uddhav Thackeray addresses Sainiks, urges calm 
10.40am | Sena MP Sanjay Raut says Thackeray is responding to treatment. He is critical but stable 
3pm | Senior Sena leader Subhash Desai says Thackeray's health has improved since last night. He's off the life-support system 
11pm | Uddhav says Balasaheb is recovering, calls for prayers 

CITY ON TENTERHOOKS 
4 buses damaged in stone-pelting at Lalbaug (2), Jeevan Nagar in Andheri (1) and at Sion (1). No one injured Nearly 90% autos and taxis stayed off the roads in the morning Taxis refused to ply at airports, inconveniencing fliers Shops and petrol pumps in Sena bastions like Dadar, Parel, Andheri(E), Vile Parle, Mulund, Worli and other areas were shut 

    When I fought 
    for my life after 'Coolie' accident, he came to visit me in hospital, with a cartoon he had drawn—Yamraj defeated! 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! 
Amitabh Bachchan | ACTOR 

We are hopeful. You be hopeful. Let's pray. 
Balasaheb has strong will power. We'll come out 
from the problem. Don't trust rumours. Make peace 
Uddhav Thackeray

Uddhav Thackeray and son Aditya address Sena supporters outside Matoshree, the Thackeray residence in Bandra, on Thursday night; (left) a deserted Sena Bhavan in Dadar


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