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Mumbai was crawling back to normal on Friday, a day after a shutdown of sorts as the Shiv Sena announced that its supremo Bal Thackeray was stable and was responding well to medicine and treatment. In some parts of the city, traffic was back on the roads, even as security remained tight.
Shops were open in Dadar near the Shiv Sena Bhavan, the headquarters of the party. Shops were also open in Mahim and Matunga. Dadar market, too, open. But in some parts, traffic seemed to be less-than-regular in the city.
The area around Bal Thackeray's residence Matoshree remained under high alert and some shops remained shut. There were over 1,500 policemen and teams of the Rapid Action Force were deployed outside. But the crowd outside Matoshree thinned down as compared to what it was on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, the who's-who of India continued to visit the Shiv Sena supremo. Among the visitors on Friday was yoga guru Baba Ramdev.
Bal Thackeray continues to be in a critical condition, his doctors said, even as the Shiv Sena continued to say he was stable. His son and the party working president Uddhav Thackeray, in another late night appearance on Thursday, reassured Shiv Sainiks and the media that Bal Thackeray was stable. He urged partymen to pray for the leader's health.
"Our feelings and wishes for him are the same. His condition has been stable since Wednesday. His treatment is underway. I repeat what I said on Wednesday that we will not give up. The power of our prayers will help him recover. Let's continue praying for him. I have full faith that he will recover," Uddhav Thackeray said.
Earlier on Thursday the who's who of Mumbai queued up to call on the Shiv Sena supremo. This even as parts of the Maharashtra capital wore a deserted look on Thursday while there was a stream of visitors at Thackeray's residence 'Matoshree'.
Parts of the Maharashtra capital wore a deserted look on Thursday with shops shut in important places like Dadar, Mahim and Bandra. Also, Shiv Sena workers asked the residents of Dadar, Mahim and Matunga to dismantle their Diwali lights. Most film and television shoots were also cancelled during the day.
There was a heavy presence of police and security forces outside 'Matoshree' and other parts of Mumbai, and the Union home ministry provided additional security forces to Maharashtra to assist the local administration in maintaining law and order in the wake of critical health condition of Thackeray.
Paramilitary personnel have been provided following a request by the Maharashtra government which has beefed up security after Shiv Sainiks damaged some media vehicles and equipment on Wednesday, official sources said. The security forces, which were in Maharashtra and were supposed to proceed to Gujarat for deployment in next month's Assembly election, have been asked to stay back to help the Maharashtra government.
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