Today, the Shiv Sena marks its 47th foundation day at Shanmukhanand Hall in Matunga. But unlike all these years, the June 19 extravaganza will be a marked down event, owing to the death of party founder and patriarch Bal Thackeray. Sena will host a plain programme where its president Uddhav Thackeray would address the attendees. The party has also decided not to have the usual skit. Flowers are also a no-no; the party president will not accept any bouquets, he has said.
According to Sena functionaries, the event has been turned into an internal meeting of party leaders. One of the party’s spokespersons said, “We have decided not to hold any programmes as it’s hardly been six months since we lost Balasaheb. So this time, we can’t think of any form of celebration.”
The party commemorates its foundation day at Shanmukhanand Hall every year. The first or the second half of the programme invariably has a drama performance. The tradition is very old: the party would sell tickets for the play and use the proceeds to fund the function. The same custom has been co-opted by the MNS, which has included the theatre component in its foundation day festivities.
A letter from Sena’s head office categorically mentions that the party has decided not to host any entertainment events this year. Instead, there would be a meeting with party leaders from all corners of Maharashtra, including MLAs, MPs, mayor, corporators and others. Earlier this week, both Yuva Sena’s Aaditya Thackeray and MNS’ Raj Thackeray, who had their birthdays on June 13 and 14 respectively, asked respective party workers not to put up banners wishing them.