More than 5,000 buses, a number of small tourist vehicles and cars, and a special train have been roped in to ferry supporters of the two rival Shiv Sena factions for their respective Dussehra rallies in Mumbai on Wednesday, sources said on Tuesday.
The faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde is holding its rally at the MMRDA ground in the Bandra Kulra Complex (BKC), while the group headed by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is organising its Dussehra event at Shivaji Park in central Mumbai.
A railway official said a train has been booked for the Dussehra rally from Nanded city in central Maharashtra.
The train, booked by the Shinde faction, will depart from Nanded on Tuesday night and arrive in Mumbai (Lokmanya Tilak Terminus) on Wednesday afternoon.
According to bus operators, the Shinde-led faction has hired at least 3,000 private buses from different districts of Maharashtra to ferry its supporters.
Besides, around 4,000 tourist cabs will bring supporters to the MMRDA ground, the sources said.
The rival Thackeray faction has booked 700 buses to bring rally participants to Shivaji Park.
A bus operator said the buses booked by the Thackeray group will bring Sena workers and supporters mainly from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). On the other hand, buses and other vehicles hired by the Shinde faction will arrive from various parts of Maharashtra.
Another bus operator said around 700 buses were booked from the Vidarbha region in eastern Maharashtra.
Most of these buses have already left from various districts of the region and are expected to reach Mumbai by midnight on Tuesday or early morning on Wednesday.
The operator said apart from buses, local leaders of the Shinde camp have hired scores of tourist vehicles to ferry supporters to Mumbai.
Many activists of the rebel camp are using their personal vehicles to travel to the event site. They have displayed posters of chief minister Shinde on vehicles apart from tying saffron flags, the operator added.
At least 1,700 state-run buses have been booked in various regions in Maharashtra, an official of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) told PTI, adding this will generate additional revenue for the cash-strapped corporation.
A large number of vehicles heading towards Mumbai led to traffic congestion at some locations on state highways.
The Mumbai traffic police have made necessary arrangements for the parking of scores of buses and other vehicles that will bring workers to the rallies.
Buses carrying supporters from western and north Mumbai will be parked along Senapati Bapat Marg and Kamgar Maidan, while those arriving from Navi Mumbai and Thane will be parked at Five Gardens, Nathalal Parekh Marg, Edanwala Road, an official said.
Cars will be parked at India Bulls Finance, IndiaBulls One Centre and Kohinoor Square. For the BKC rally, buses will be parked behind the family court in suburban Bandra, near Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, the MMRDA ground and near Jio garden.