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Rediff.com  » News » Tempers flare outside Matoshree, lull at Sena Bhavan

Tempers flare outside Matoshree, lull at Sena Bhavan

Last updated on: November 15, 2012 02:30 IST

Tempers flare outside Matoshree, lull at Sena Bhavan

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Abhishek Mande

As news of Bal Thackeray's health turning critical emerged, Rediff.com's Abhishek Mande witnessed contrasting scenes outside Matoshree, the residence of the Shiv Sena chief, and the Shiv Sena Bhavan.

Anticipation hangs in the air as the news of Balasaheb Thackeray's critical health leaked outside the walls of Matoshree, the official residence of the Shiv Sena chief late Wednesday night.

Sena supporters have crowded along the road leading to Matoshree in the Bandra (East) area of Mumbai. Vehicles have been parked indiscriminately on the road leading to Bandra-Kurla complex to its north as well as along Western Express Highway, one of the city's arterial roads.

Police presence is heavy though there is little they seem to be able to do to control the crowds. Cars and motorbikes have been piling up and it is only a matter of time before the traffic situation gets out of hand.

Traffic is probably not the biggest worry that the police will have to face.

Journalists present at Matoshree to cover the developments were reportedly attacked by Sena workers as the cops stood by.

By the time this correspondent reached there photographers had packed off their cameras and were huddled in a corner at the top of the Bandra skywalk prohibiting others from taking pictures.

At the other end of the skywalk, a group of Sena workers pranced around talking amongst themselves; snatches of conversations I overheard revealed they were miffed with journalists being around. One of them smelt of alcohol.

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Image: The scene outside Matoshree
Photographs: Abhishek Mande

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Tempers flare outside Matoshree, lull at Sena Bhavan

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Along the Lady Jamsetji Road that leads to Shiv Sena Bhavan, the party's head office, things were calmer.

The air of terror that hung outside Matoshree was clearly missing. Instead workers were busy taking off hoardings of Diwali greetings with pictures of the Thackeray clan.

I lent a hand to a worker pulling down one such hoarding and struck a conversation. He said that he'd been instructed by his bosses to do so since 'Saheb nahi rahele' (Balasaheb is no more).

Another man, also a Sena worker presumably, followed us pulling down and rolling up the party's trademark saffron flag. Neither was willing to reveal his name, preferring rather to go about their work.

About a kilometre away, Shiv Sena's office -- the Shiv Sena Bhavan -- wore a festive look. However, it was evident for anyone looking at it air of gloom hung heavy.

No one seemed willing to talk to journalists; the few Sena workers I had called earlier also refused to go on record. Small groups of men stood around Shiv Sena Bhavan waiting to hear what seems to be inevitable.

The police radio in a van standing nearby crackled. A minor scuffle had broken out somewhere. The constable on the other end reported it in a matter of fact tone. The policemen in the van waited to hear more about Thackeray. Nothing came up. As of 3 am nothing has.


Image: The sight at the Sena Bhavan
Photographs: Abhishek Mande

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