Bal Thackeray improving, crowds diminish
Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's condition continued to show signs of improvement Friday evening, leading to normalcy returning to the city and crowds outside his residence diminishing.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said Friday evening that "the prayers of millions of his supporters have started working" and Thackeray's health was gradually improving.
"He is like our god. Very soon he shall be able to appear in public for his admirers," Raut assured.
Thackeray's son and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray was expected to address the media later Friday to give an update on the 86-year-old Sena supremo's health.
As news of his improving health spread Friday morning, normal activities resumed after the spontaneous near-total shutdown in Mumbai Thursday.
Thousands of Shiv Sena workers who had gathered outside the Thackeray residence Matoshri in Bandra East also began dispersing.
At 11 p.m. Thursday, Uddhav Thackeray informed the restive crowds that his father's condition was stable.
"He is stable and we are doing everything we can. His health is improving. He is better than yesterday. We have still not given up hope," Uddhav told the large crowd of activists and mediapersons outside his house.
"We are all praying for him and it is the strength of our prayers that will see him through this crisis," Uddhav said.
Several party leaders had appealed for calm Thursday.
Bal Thackeray has been under the care of a team of specialists from Lilavati Hospital at his home, Matoshri. According to party leaders, an ICU had been created at Matoshri with all emergency equipment and medical and para-medical staff on duty round-the-clock.
A stream of VVIP visitors continued at Matoshri Friday to enquire after Bal Thackeray's health, including film personalities Rakesh Roshan, Suresh Oberoi and son Vivek, yoga guru Baba Ramdev and several people from the Marathi film industry.
Barely a handful of visitors were allowed to enter where Bal Thackeray is as it is out of bounds for all barring immediate family members.
Meanwhile, pujas, aartis, havans continued in temples and public places besides special prayers in mosques, churches and gurudwararas across Maharashtra for Bal Thackeray's speedy recovery.