Uddhav homecoming turns into a late-night show of strength


The journey takes about 15-20 minutes usually but late on Wednesday evening, after delivering an emotional speech on the political crisis, the Chief Minister and his entourage took one hour and four minutes. Before reaching ‘Matoshree’ at 10.44 pm, Thackeray stepped out of his car five times during the journey to shake hands and greet party workers, and acknowledge their support.

Several women party workers on one side of the road sobbed as Thackeray stepped out to greet them. “We will fight and overcome this challenge, too,” said one of them.

Thackeray travelled alone in his car, wearing a mask as he had tested positive for Covid, and greeted supporters with raised hands and a clenched fist. His wife Rashmi Thackeray, accompanied by their sons, Aaditya Thackeray and Tejas, travelled together in a separate car. Aaditya, who is a State Minister, also waved to supporters and showed the victory sign.

Speaking to The Indian Express, former Mumbai mayor Snehal Ambekar, who was present with other party workers at Worli, said: “The CM shook hands with me. We are all with him in whatever decision he takes. These are tough times for us and we will rebuild the party.”

Sena MLC Sunil Shinde, who was at Worli Sea Face, said: “We have seen many challenges in our lives, and this is one more. This was a very emotional moment for us.”

Newly elected MLC Sachin Ahir, who escorted the entourage till Worli, said “people gathered spontaneously” after news of the Thackerays vacating ‘Varsha’ spread in the city.

Another former mayor, Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, was outside ‘Matoshree’ shouting slogans against Shinde. “We are very upset with the rebel group and we are here to support our leader,” he said.

With crowds packing the Kala Nagar Junction, where ‘Matoshree’ is located, Thackeray stepped out of his car to walk with the crowd till the gate of his family home. And as party workers raised slogans of support, Aaditya emerged from the sunroof of his car to wave at them with both hands.

Sena supporter Aarti Patil, who had come to ‘Matoshree’, said: “The action of Shinde is unacceptable and he cannot hold the party or (Thackeray) saheb to ransom. Lakhs of Shiv Sainiks are with Thackeray saheb and we will fight back.”

Mehmood Shaikh, another supporter, said: “We will always remain with Uddhav saheb. Shinde saheb should not have done what he has done. Whatever the case may be, our support is for Uddhav saheb.”

Savita Sanap, a party worker outside ‘Matoshree’, said: “This gathering of workers is the answer to those who are saying that Shiv Sena has become weak. See the number of people here and the love they have for saheb. A few leaders can leave saheb’s party but lakhs of loyal Shiv Sainiks will remain with Thackeray.”





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