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Tiger’s last journey to Shivaji Park

Sunday, 18 November 2012 - 8:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Raut said entire country was under a pall of gloom after the demise of the Shiv Sena stalwart and appealed to the party workers to remain composed and patient.

The final rites of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, who passed away on Saturday, will be held at Shivaji Park in Dadar, the party said. If it happens, the veteran leader will be the first person to be cremated at the ground.

Senior Shiv Sena leader and parliamentarian Sanjay Raut said, “Our beloved leader’s final rites will be performed at Shiv Tirth (Shivaji Park ground) where the Shiv Sena was born, where he stoked political temperatures and where the Samyukta Maharashtra was announced.”

Raut said entire country was under a pall of gloom after the demise of the Shiv Sena stalwart and appealed to the party workers to remain composed and patient.

“It is great loss for Sainiks many of whom have called for a spontaneous bandh. Our appeal to them is to not trouble public transportation as hordes of Sainiks from the other country will be coming in on Sunday. They (local Sainiks) should not engage into activities that will deny his other followers the chance to get a last glimpse of their leader,” Raut said.

Thackeray's funeral procession will begin at around 7am at Kalanagar in Bandra on Sunday and reach Shivaji Park at around 10am via Mahim Causeway and Sena Bhavan in Dadar.

Thackeray’s body will be kept at the ground for darshan until 5pm and the last rites are expected to be performed by 6pm, Raut said. “We want as many supporters as possible, especially those from Thane and Navi Mumbai to use public transportation so that no parking woes crop up,” he said.

Meanwhile, a six-feet tall stage has been erected at the ground for the darshan. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has deployed 300 labourers at the ground. There will be 10 water tankers, 12 mobile toilets (each having 10 seats) and six ambulances present.

“In view of any untoward incident, we have a fire station nearby. But looking at the actual scenario on Sunday, an ambulance or two will be stationed at the ground,” a senior civic official said on condition of anonymity.

The last glimpse
A five-foot high stage was being put up at Shivaji Park since 6pm on Saturday. Only VIPs will be permitted on the stage, said a member of the party. For the public at large, three lanes have been made which will lead close to stage. People will get a glimpse of him from a distance. Sridhar Jadhav, husband of former mayor Shraddha Jadhav, who was looking after all the stage and lane arrangements, said, “To decorate the stage, we’re using white cloth”.

Sena wants memorial
The Shiv Sena on Saturday said that they would construct a memorial at the Shivaji Park grounds for Bal Thackeray. “A memorial will be constructed at Shivaji Park ground,” Shiv Sena MP Anil Desai said. However, the government is yet to confirm it. On Sunday, Shiv Sainiks are set to make a bee line to Shivaji Park.  “I have been witness to all his public meetings. On Sunday I will be here again to have my last glimpse of him,” said Keshav Shigvan, a Sainik from Dadar.

Backup arrangement made at crematorium
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) though meanwhile has made preparations at Shivaji Park crematorium for Thackeray’s final rites, in case the party is disallowed performing last rites of the leader at the historic ground. “We have not received any order about performing Thackeray’s final rites at the crematorium. But at the same time, we have made arrangements in case it is decided that the rites will be performed at crematorium,” a civic official said on condition of anonymity.

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