Shivaji Park witnesses preparations for Uddhav Thackeray's swearing-in ceremony

Updated: Nov 28, 2019, 07:46 IST | Gaurav Sarkar | Mumbai

As you enter from gate no. 1, the entire front portion of the ground bustled. A large semicircle drawn with chalk indicated where the stage would be. "There are at least 70 of us working on building the stage," said a labourer

Police deployed at the ground rehearse for the event. Pic/Ashish Raje
Police deployed at the ground rehearse for the event. Pic/Ashish Raje

With Uddhav Thackeray's swearing-in ceremony only 24 hours away, Dadar's Shivaji Park was a flurry of activity on Wednesday. Nearly 15,000 wooden planks, over 70 labourers busy building a 100x60 feet stage, along with half-a-dozen tempos carrying heavy equipment dominated the scene.

There was heavy police deployment outside and inside the ground. Around 70 officers were lined up on a footpath. "It is a rehearsal for tomorrow," said a sub-inspector, "So that no time is wasted when the VIPs arrive and we know what our positions are."

As you enter from gate no. 1, the entire front portion of the ground bustled. A large semicircle drawn with chalk indicated where the stage would be. "There are at least 70 of us working on building the stage," said a labourer.

"More labour force from other contractors is expected to come later in the evening. The stage should be ready by 4 am." Public Works Department (PWD) contractor, Ketan Thakkar said: "We are expecting at least 75,000-80,000 people."

At about 6:30 pm, a five-member bomb detection squad, along with a sniffer dog, spent close to an hour inspecting the ground. The statue of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj was being scrubbed clean.

Toshan Anvekar, 26, another Shivaji Park resident, said: "The number of people during events increases exponentially and all the inner lanes near Shivaji Park get clogged. But you can't help it — Shivaji Park has always been a symbolic location where people can gather. That is difficult to change."

As the sun began to set, art director and production designer, Nitin Desai made an appearance. "Maharashtra will get to see a celebration like never before," he said.

Multiple Shiv Sena MLAs also came to witness the preparation. Councillor Ambadas Danve from Aurangabad-Jalna came especially for the ceremony. "There are going to be a lot of farmers coming from Aurangabad and Marathwada. We have all been wanting Uddhavji to become chief minister for a long time now. It is like witnessing history."

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