A police official said on Monday that strict security measures have been taken across Mumbai in preparation for two Dussehra rallies hosted by Shiv Sena factions led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and party chairman Uddhav Thackeray. Shinde’s uprising in June toppled Thackeray’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, and the two factions have had a bitter relationship ever since, with workers sometimes clashing in the streets.
While Thackeray will speak on October 5 at the Sena’s traditional venue, Shivaji Park in central Mumbai, Shinde’s faction has hosted their Dussehra event at the MMRDA grounds in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), close to ‘Matoshree’. ‘, the private residence.
As the ‘showdown’ draws closer, News18 lists the two competing rallies:
Prior to their Dussehra meetings, the two factions of the Shiv Sena are engaged in a “video war” with both sides claiming to be the real heirs to the legacy of Sena founder Bal Thackeray. A video released by the Uddhav faction on September 30 said, “One leader, one flag, one field… Witness the traditional historical Dussehra gathering of Shiv Sena!”
ऐतिहासिक दसरा मेळाव्याचे साक्षीदार व्हा!
: शिवाजी महाराज पार्क (शिवतीर्थ),
२०२२, . .३० वा. pic.twitter.com/FbulJpw2mA
— ShivSena – शिवसेना (@ShivSena) September 30, 2022
Meanwhile, the Shinde faction’s 20-second teaser, which features the Sena’s electoral symbol (bow and arrow) alongside the party’s roaring tiger logo, features the voice of the late Sena founder, and photos of the deceased. Sena leader Anand Dighe.
— Eknath Shinde – एकनाथ शिंदे (@mieknathshinde) September 29, 2022
“The saffron flag of Shivaji Maharaj, the saffron flag of Shiv Sena and the saffron flag of Hindutva should be fluttering continuously and consistently,” said the video’s voiceover. In the video, the word ‘Eklavya’ can be seen next to Shinde’s photo. Shinde then tweeted the video, adding that the saffron flags of Shivaji, Shiv Sena and Hindutva should continue to fly.
The factions continue to release videos against each other ahead of the rallies.
.. ऐतिहासिक दसरा मेळावा!
: शिवाजी महाराज पार्क (शिवतीर्थ),
२०२२, . .३० वा. pic.twitter.com/xqM6444BbG
— ShivSena – शिवसेना (@ShivSena) October 3, 2022
Thousands expected from various states
“Thousands of people from across the state are expected to attend both gatherings, so arrangements have been made to ensure public order and deal with any untoward incident. Local police and additional coverage from other units will be in place,” an official said.
Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre Patil said his team visited Shivaji Park and BKC to take stock of the security facilities at the sites. Strict security measures have been put in place as there is a possibility that supporters of the two rival factions come face to face in the metropolis, leading to public order problems, police said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said the workers of both gatherings would understand the importance of maintaining law and order.
Law & order situation will be maintained (during Dussehra rallies). Employees who attend both gatherings (from Shiv Sena factions at Shivaji Park & MMRDA Grounds) will understand. We must be careful that no wrong element enters the crowd: Maharashtra Dy CM Devendra Fadnavis pic.twitter.com/9Y4YiWLuFq
— ANI (@ANI) October 3, 2022
Shinde’s security increased
Incidentally, Shinde’s security was recently increased due to a threat input, the police added. The Prime Minister visited the MMRDA site at BKC in suburban Mumbai and took stock of preparations for the October 5 event. I have visited the location (in BKC) and the preparations are in full swing. Lakh’s people from all over the state will come to the meeting and all departments are working to make sure they don’t face any problems. Our preparations will be over tomorrow (Tuesday) and this rally will be a success,” said Shinde.
Maharashtra | I don’t care. Our Home Department and Home Secretary Devendra Fadanavis are capable and we trust them. I will not be afraid of such threats, no one can stop me from working for the public. I’ll Keep Working For Them: CM Eknath Shinde On Death Threats To Him pic.twitter.com/HcONGfDqgv
— ANI (@ANI) October 2, 2022
Sheetal Mhatre, a spokesman for the Shinde camp, said on-site preparations are nearly 80 percent over and 4,000-5,000 buses have been booked by MLAs and MPs to take their supporters to the rally site. Also in Shivaji park, the Uddhav Thackeray camp is making its own preparations for the rally – building the podium and making seats for Shiv Saniks loyal to the Sena president.
The senior leadership of the Uddhav Thackeray faction also met at Shiv Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters in Dadar, to take stock of ongoing preparations.
Meanwhile, the NCP has put up posters outside Matoshree in support of Thackeray’s Dussehra rally.
Mumbai Traffic Police said on Monday it had made necessary arrangements for parking dozens of buses that will bring workers from the Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde factions of the Shiv Sena to their respective Dussehra rallies at Shivaji Park and Bandra Kurla Complex in October. Buses carrying supporters from west 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 are parked at India Bulls Finance, India Bulls One Center and Kohinoor Square. For the BKC rally, buses are parked behind the family court, near Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, MMRDA ground, near Jio garden nearby. The car can be parked in the parking garage of the Jio garden,” he added.
Election battle also close
After rebelling against the leadership of Shiv Sena, the faction led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde will undergo its first popularity test in the November 3 poll of the Andheri (Eastern) Assembly segment in Mumbai, which was represented by Shiv Sena MLA, the late Ramesh Latke. The upcoming match has sparked great interest as both factions of Shiv Sena compete for the “Bow and Arrow” symbol of Shiv Sena. The Election Commission is currently hearing the pleas to decide on the ‘real’ Shiv Sena and the assignment of the poll symbol. The electoral commission announced the timetable for the bypoll on Monday. The counting of votes will take place on November 6.
Andheri (East) seat became vacant following the death of Latke, who had won the seat twice in a row, in May this year. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shinde faction have put Murji Patel, a former shareholder of the Mumbai civil society, in the by-election. The Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray is likely to raise the late Latke’s wife, Rutuja Latke.
With input from agencies
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