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Shiv Sena to flex muscles on Bal Thackeray's second death anniversary

Mumbai: The Shiv Sena will flex its muscles on the second death anniversary of its founder-patriarch, late Bal Thackeray on Monday. Hundreds of thousands of Shiv Sainiks are expected to visit the Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park for which elaborate arrangements have been put in place, said party secretary and parliamentarian Anil Desai. Party officials estimated that over two lakh Shiv Sainiks will start trooping into Mumbai Sunday onwards for offering tributes to the late Thackeray Monday morning.

 On Monday (Nov 17), party president Uddhav Thackeray and his family members, besides top party leaders, legislators, parliamentarians and municipal corporation members from across Maharashtra shall pay their homage at the memorial.

To ensure a large turnout, hundreds of Shiv Sena 'shakhas' (branches) have been asked to rope in their local members to attend the event as well as help manage the huge crowd in tandem with various official agencies and police.

The occasion will be used by the Shiv Sena as a show of strength to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, its erstwhile ally of 25 years, and vent its emotions over the fracas that led to the Sena opting to be the main opposition in the state assembly.

Interestingly, it was not yet clear whether any top state BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, his cabinet colleagues or legislators and MPs, will pay homage to Thackeray, though all hold the late Shiv Sena chief in highest esteem.

After the event, Uddhav Thackeray is likely to proceed on a statewide tour to reinvigorate the party at the grassroots level. Earlier this month, Thackeray had prayed at the Ekvira Devi Temple in Lonavala that the party would win 180 seats in the next assembly election.

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