While Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray’s health condition remained serious on Thursday evening, rumour mongers had a field day with conjecture doing the rounds from the previous evening.
Several Shiv Sainiks made a beeline for the Thackeray family residence, Matoshree in Bandra (East). Residents in Sena strongholds like Dadar and Mahim removed Diwali lanterns put up on roads, fearing the inevitable.
As Shiv Sainiks raised angry slogans outside Matoshree, demanding to know the health update of their party chief, Sena leaders appealed for calm.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray and other Sena and MNS leaders also rushed to check on Thackeray’s health. Former leader of the opposition Ramdas Kadam, Bharatiya Kamgar Sena (BKS) chief Suryakant Mahadik and others appealed for peace and appealed to people to pray for Thackeray’s health. Mahadik announced from a portable microphone after midnight, his voice drowned out by that of the crowd.
As the mob, which included Sainiks from outside Mumbai turned restive, the outnumbered policemen could only make appeals for peace.
Actor Amitabh Bachchan, a friend of the Thackerays, and son Abhishek were mobbed as they went to visit the ailing Sena tiger on Wednesday night.
While rumours flew thick and fast, what added fuel to the fire were tweets and blackberry messages.
Eventually, it was left to Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray to salvage the day by appealing for peace and adding that he had not lost hope.
On Thursday too, rumours did the rounds with the absence of any health bulletin adding to the trouble.