Sena vs Sena: Fireworks Expected At Dussehra Rallies Of Rival Factions

The rallies have generated intense interest in political circles and also among common citizens.

Sena vs Sena: Fireworks Expected At Dussehra Rallies Of Rival Factions

For first time since the Shiv Sena's inception 56 years ago, two Dussehra rallies will be held in Mumbai on Wednesday by the party's rival factions -- led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his predecessor Uddhav Thackeray -- in what is being billed as a show of strength by both camps after a change in government in June.

The rallies have generated intense interest in political circles and also among common citizens and there will be more than just speeches by the two friends-turns-foes as the rival factions will seek to present themselves as the 'real' Shiv Sena and try to claim the legacy of party founder the late Bal Thackeray.

While the Uddhav Thackeray faction will hold its rally at the historic Shivaji Park in Dadar in central Mumbai, a venue associated with the Shiv Sena since its inception in 1966, the rebel group led by Shinde has organised their event at the MMRDA ground at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) in the suburbs The sprawling MMRDA ground is located close to 'Matoshree', the private residence of the Thackeray family in suburban Bandra.

Both the camps have claimed they are taking forward the ideals of Bal Thackeray, who was known to make fiery speeches at the Dussehra rallies at Shivaji Park year after year till his death in 2012. Since then, his son Uddhav Thackeray, a former CM who lost power in June following rebellion by his once trusted aide Shinde, had been addressing the annual event.

A Dussehra rally is being held at Shivaji Park after a gap of two years due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Both sides have claimed their rallies will be a grand success with top leaders giving last minute touches to the preparations for the mega shows. On the ground, the areas in and around the two venues are awashed in saffron flags and banners.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray is expected to launch attacks on the Shinde faction and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), his former ally which is now part of the government in the state. In his address, the chief minister is likely to target Uddhav Thackeray for "deviating" from the path of Hindutva and joining hands with his once rivals Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in November 2019.

Rebellion by Mr Shinde against Uddhav Thackeray's leadership brought down the MVA government in June-end.

Meanwhile, stringent security measures are in place as there is a possibility of supporters of the two rival factions coming face to face in the metropolis, which may lead to law and order issues.

Thousands of buses --- of the state road transport and also private operators -- have been booked by the rival Sena factions to ferry their supporters to the venues from all over the state.

Sheetal Mhatre, a spokesperson for the Shinde camp, said 3.5 to 4 lakh people are expected to attend the rally at the MMRDA ground.

Arrangements for food and vehicle parking for those coming from outside the city have been made.

Both sides have claimed supporters of Mr Shinde and Mr Thackeray will come in large numbers from outside Mumbai for the high-profile events.

The Mumbai traffic police have made necessary arrangements for the parking of scores of buses that will bring workers to the rallies.

Buses carrying supporters from western and north Mumbai will be parked along Senapati Bapat Marg and Kamgar Maidan, while those arriving from Navi Mumbai and Thane will be parked at Five Gardens, Nathalal Parekh Marg, Edanwala Road, an official said.

Cars will be parked at India Bulls Finance, IndiaBulls One Centre and Kohinoor Square.

For the BKC event, buses will be parked behind the family court in Bandra, near Canara Bank, Punjab National Bank, the MMRDA ground and near Jio garden in the vicinity.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)