Eye-catching posters, colourful flags adorn Shivaji Park
The historic Shivaji Park was on Thursday evening engulfed by a riot of colourful flags of the Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress as Chief Minister-designate Uddhav Thackeray prepared to be sworn-in to his post by Governor B.S. Koshyari.
Besides the saffron flags of the Shiv Sena and its bow-and-arrow symbol, tricolour flags of the NCP and the Congress with their symbols of clock and hand, respectively, fluttered in the gentle cool sea breeze from the Arabian Sea, barely a stone's throw away from the venue.
There were also other surprises -- some large posters of rarely seen photographs of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with the late Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray, both arch enemies, but seen greeting each other with folded hands, both at Shivaji Park and near the Sena Bhavan, the party's headquarters.
Nevertheless, Bal Thackeray was always an ardent admirer and supporter of Indira Gandhi and was among the handful who had supported the Emergency in 1975.
Over the years, as the Sena strongly allied with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the NDA, it became a strong critic of the Emergency.
However, after the recent political turmoil in which the BJP's Devendra Fadnavis and NCP's Ajit Pawar were sworn-in as Chief Minister and Deputy CHief Minister, respectively, at dawn on November 23, the Sena did an about turn, terming it as a 'Black Day' in Indian democracy and even said the BJP has lost all rights to criticise the Emergency as a 'Black Day'.
Other posters feature Rahul Gandhi-Sonia Gandhi in some old interactions with the Thackeray family members, Sharad Pawar, pictures of a young and present day Uddhav Thackeray, some with his wife Rashmi, and some images of his son and newly-elected MLA Aditya Thackeray.
One loyal party worker from a rural area came attired in the party's saffron colour -- his cap, glasses, scarf, a full-sleeve shirt, trousers and even leather shoes in saffron -- grabbing eyeballs wherever he moved around.
He also carried a large album with a collection of rare photographs of the Thackerays, the evolution of the Shiv Sena over the past 53 years, the late Bal Thackeray's Dussehra rallies at Shivaji Park, besides forgotten media coverage in Marathi with articles/interviews etc.
A sea of activists from the three parties in the Maha Vikas Aghadi turned up from all over Maharashtra for the swearing-in besides farmers and widows from remotest corners of the state, plus top political leaders from all over India and other celebrities.IANS