Mumbai: Shiv Sena mega event to celebrate ‘fulfilment of promise to Balasaheb’

Mumbai: Shiv Sena mega event to celebrate ‘fulfilment of promise to Balasaheb’

Uddhav, the youngest son of Balasaheb, is the first member of the Thackeray family to be the chief minister of the state. (File)

On the birth anniversary of its late founder on January 23, the Shiv Sena will organise a mega gathering in Mumbai to celebrate the fulfilment of a promise made by party chief Uddhav Thackeray to Balasaheb Thackeray of having a Sena chief minister in the state.

Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was sworn-in as the 29th chief minister of Maharashtra at Shivaji Park in Mumbai on November 28. Uddhav, the youngest son of Balasaheb, is the first member of the Thackeray family to be the chief minister of the state.

According to sources, party workers from across the state will take part in the event. “Uddhavji had made a promise to Balasaheb of installing a Sena chief minister in the state. Since he has fulfilled the promise, we are organising a celebratory gathering on January 23, the birth anniversary of Balasaheb. We will felicitate Uddhavji on behalf of the party,” Minister for Transport and Sena leader Anil Parab said. He added that eminent personalities from various fields, such as politics, sports, music and Bollywood, would be invited for the programme. Names of the invitees are yet to be finalised, sources said.

A Sena functionary said the programme will be held at MMRDA ground in Bandra Kurla Complex. “We organise a programme at Shanmukhananda Hall in Sion every year on Balasaheb’s birth anniversary. But, on the insistence of activists, the party has decided to organise this year’s event at BKC,” the functionary said.

Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is also contemplating a Hindutva makeover and planning to unveil a new flag at a special conclave on January 23 as well. The party is likely to change its flag — which presently consists of saffron, blue and green stripes — to an all-saffron one with the seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji embossed in the middle. The move seems to be an attempt to fill up the space left partially vacant after the Sena joined hands with the Congress-NCP to form a government in the state.

While Sena leaders refused to talk about the MNS event, Parab said, “We have nothing to do with their programme.” The Sena’s mega gathering, however, is being seen by many as an attempt to counter the MNS event.