While his party makes grand preparations to wage a fierce protest against the recent petrol price hike, Uddhav Thackeray, executive president of the Shiv Sena, will not be at the helm of affairs. According reports, Thackeray isn’t expected to be in the city today, to lead the protest. This is the third consecutive instance of Thackeray’s absence from important events on the state’s timeline: when locals of Jaitapur raised an outcry last year, acting under instructions from Thackeray, the leader himself was in Madhya Pradesh, indulging his love for wildlife. He was panned by the media, and even curtailed his trip and returned.
Even before this, as the city drowned in the 2005 deluge, Uddhav reportedly celebrated his birthday at a five-star hotel. Sanjay Raut, senior Sena MP and spokesperson for the party, said, “Yes, Uddhavji is not in town. He’s out, but the Sena machinery is functional. During the bandh, it would be evident that how powerful the party’s machinery is.”
“We are in full support of the bandh and all our top leaders are going to see to it that the bandh is a success,” added Raut. According to another party leader, Thackeray’s trip had already been arranged earlier, whereas the decision for the bandh was taken during the national executive meeting held by the BJP recently.
Even though Thackeray is missing in action, party sources claim that the top leaders are liaising with him on a regular basis. Meanwhile, Subhash Desai is holding fort and overseeing arrangements for the rally on behalf of the party president. Even at the press conference called by BJP-Sena-RPI alliance, Desai appeared to be at the helm of affairs, while the state chief of BJP Sudhir Mungantiwar was present.