This afternoon, Uddhav Thackeray, the Executive President of the Shiv Sena called an urgent meeting in Mumbai of his party's state legislators and MPs.
Sources had earlier said that while the meeting was meant to look at the party's strategy for the winter session of the Maharashtra Assembly, the focus was likely to be on the health of Bal Thackeray.
But Uddhav, while acknowledging that "everyone is worried about Shiv Sena chief's health", said that the meeting was "preplanned and not an emergency meeting". "I meet them (party leaders) normally at Dussehra to offer guidance on what we need to do," Uddhav told reporters after the meeting.
Bal Thackeray, who founded the Shiv Sena in 1966, has not been keeping well. At a Dussehra rally held in Mumbai last week, he addressed Sena workers via video, and asked them to support his son Uddhav and grandson Aditya. "I have collapsed physically...I can't walk...I am tired," he said.
Yesterday, the 86-year-old met with his nephew, Raj, who formed his own political party in 2006 after Uddhav was made the Sena chief. Raj reconciled with Uddhav and Bal Thackeray in July, when Uddhav was hospitalised with heart problems. Bal Thackeray had phoned him and asked him to attend to Uddhav.
Raj has met with Bal Thackeray four times in the last four months, provoking speculation about whether his party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) may work closely with the Shiv Sena in the near future. Maharashtra votes for its next government in 2014.