Mumbai: Lakhs of Shiv Sainiks are expected to assemble in Mumbai Thursday evening to take a pledge: “We shall grab power”. The day marks the 88th birth anniversary of the Sena’s founder-patriarch late Bal Thackeray.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will administer the pledge at a massive rally planned at the Somaiya Grounds in eastern Mumbai and launch the party’s 2014 poll campaign.

Thackeray announced a few days ago that Jan 23 would be a ‘Pledge Day’ — the day to take a vow to vote out the ruling Congress-led governments at the centre and in the state.

The day also happens to be the silver jubilee of the party mouthpiece “Saamana” which was launched, edited and nurtured by the late Bal Thackeray for over 23 years till his death Nov 17, 2012.

The newspaper was founded Jan 23, 1988, out of Thackeray’s desire to speak for the common Maharashtrians in the state, fight for their rights, and espouse their cause in the corridors of power.

Over the years, the paper came to be feared in political circles for its no-holds-barred edits on various issues.

Encouraged by the success of the newspaper, Bal Thackeray later launched its Hindi version, “Dopahar Ka Saamana” Feb 23, 1993.

Continuing in his father’s footsteps, Uddhav took over as the editor, while the late Thackeray has been honoured as ‘founder-editor’ of the publication.

Meanwhile, massive preparations have been made for the ‘Pledge Day’ rally with thousands of Shiv Sainiks pouring in from all parts of the state since Wednesday night.

A special elevator has been installed to hoist Uddhav Thackeray onto the high, 320 square feet podium from where he will attempt to lift the party spirits with the pledge.

Also, six huge gates have been erected for entry to the ground and eight giant 70-foot LCD screens have been put in place.

The stage has been specially decorated with gigantic party flags and a life-size statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji astride an elephant in a procession.

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Free Press Journal