The Shiv Sena has decided to organise its annual Dasara rally on Sunday at an auditorium in Mumbai and not on the Shivaji Park ground, where the event is traditionally held.
This decision was taken in view of the COVID-19 safety protocols, in which the Sena-led Maharashtra government has prohibited political, social and religious gatherings, party sources said on Saturday. This is the first time the rally is being held outside Shivaji Park, where party workers gather in large numbers to hear the Sena chief address them on Dasara evening.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who is president of the Sena, will address the party workers from the Swatantryaveer Savarkar auditorium opposite the Shivaji Park ground at Dadar in central Mumbai at 7 p.m., the sources said. He and his family members will first pay their respects at the memorial of late party founder Bal Thackeray at Shivaji Park.
Party sources said that only a group of 50 people, including Ministers and leaders, will have access to the auditorium. The event will be telecast live on all the social media accounts of the party.
First rally as CM
This is the first Dasara rally for 60-year-old Mr. Thackeray after becoming the Chief Minister.
He will complete a year in office on November 27.
Geeta Jain, an independent MLA and a former BJP leader, joined the Shiv Sena on Saturday.
Ms. Jain visited the residence of Mr. Thackeray, where she was inducted into the party, a Sena source said.
She was accompanied by Minister Eknath Shinde and Thane MLA Pratap Sarnaik.
Ms. Jain, a BJP rebel, won from the Mira Bhayander constituency last year by defeating the BJP’s Narendra Mehta. After winning, she declared support to the BJP.
Recently, Water Conservation Minister Shankarrao Gadakh, who had won from the Nevasa assembly seat as Krantikari Shetkari Paksh’s candidate, joined the Shiv Sena. On Friday, senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse joined the NCP, which is part of the ruling coalition in the State.