After being on the edge for over three days, the news of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray’s demise has spread to the far corners of the State. The formal announcement was made by Thackeray’s physician Dr Jalil Parkar at around 5 pm outside Matoshree.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut made a formal announcement that the last darshan would be at Shivaji Park on Sunday. He appealed to the Shiv Sainiks to offer their respects to the leader at Shivaji Park.
The State machinery has gone into high gear and security arrangements have been upped ahead of the last rites. Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh appealed to the masses to remain calm and to maintain peace.
Sources revealed that nearly 30 lakh supporters are expected to turn up at Shivaji Park to pay their last respects to the iconic leader.
Special arrangements for security, extra barricades, temporary shelters, security watch towers are being put in place. While extra security personnel have been roped in from the CRPF and Rapid Action force.
Shops shut, roads deserted
As soon as news of the Shiv Sena leader’s demise was made official, shops, stores and establishments in the city downed their shutters immediately. Multiplexes that were running to packed crowds out to enjoy the weekend were in a confused state. Though the tickets were booked in advance, not many turned up for the evening shows.
Eateries and restaurants in Sena strongholds like Dadar, Parel, Lalbaug, Hindmata, Shivaji Park, Ghatkopar, Mulund, Thane, Vikhroli and Vidyavihar immediately shut their establishments.
Taxis and autorickshaws refused fares and headed home. The cabbies and autowallahs have been the favourite whipping boys of the Sena in the past, and not taking any chances this time, most drivers decided to avoid the streets.
As it was a Saturday, most offices and companies were already shut and the workforce was either at home or on their way home.
Mumbai is set to witness a silent night, and is gearing up for the farewell of its iconic leader on Sunday.