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Salil Kumar in Mumbai | October 16, 2004 22:57 IST

Matoshree, Bal Thackeray's residence in Mumbai, has seen more joyous times.

As news trickles in that the Congress-NCP is going to retain power in Maharashtra, there is a hush inside.

Outside there are no party workers, no crackers and no activity.

Only journalists are milling around in the area, hoping for a sound byte or two.

"How can he come out and talk? Forget about other places, the Congress has swept all the six seats in his area [northwest Mumbai] as well," says a journalist.

Everybody is busy talking on their mobile phones, trying to get the latest position.

One of the guards standing at the entrance says only (former chief minister) Manohar Joshi is inside.

Is this the end of the road for the old tiger?

The scene is the same outside the Shiv Sena's headquarters in south Mumbai, except that there are no journalists even. They know the office is the last place that any Sena leader will come to on a day like this.

There are just four guards outside and they are busy reading Maharashtra Times, a local Marathi newspaper.

Had they won there would have been a lot of festivities here, one of them says.


The reception is empty. In fact, the only presence is that of Thackeray, peering out of framed photographs, stickers, banners, etc.

A couple of minutes ago there were a few people standing in a huddle -- they were listening to the news on the radio.

One of them is still optimistic that a miracle will take place. "Wait till the final tally is in."

But in their hearts they know that the game is over.

The adjacent office belongs to the NCP, which, as is to be expected, is teeming with party workers who light crackers and shout, 'Pawarsaheb aage badho, hum tumhare saath hain!'

Inside, many NCP workers are sitting in front of a TV set and monitoring the news.

The adage 'Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan' was never truer.

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