“Best wishes to Shri Uddhav Thackerayji, on his birthday. I wish him good health and happiness always,” Gandhi said in an early-bird tweet, sending the Sena in a tizzy.
The tweet was soon liked by over 5,000 people and retweeted by another 1,200 twitteratti as it started trending, indicating winds of change.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also followed suit by greeting his sulking ally: “Best wishes to Shiv Sena President Uddhavji Thackeray on his birthday.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon tweeted to the NDA constituent chief: “Birthday wishes to Shri Uddhav Thackeray. May Almighty bless him with a long and healthy life in service of society.”
Even West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee – who met the Sena chief in 2017 – did not forget the date and wished “Uddhav Thackerayji a very happy birthday.”
Incidentally, earlier this week, in a three-part marathon interview ahead of his 58th birthday to ‘Saamana’ and ‘Dopahar Ka Saamana’, Thackeray had attacked the ruling ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on a variety of issues, ranging from safety of cow versus women, corruption, Pakistan, simultaneous elections to assemblies and Lok Sabha, etc.
On his birthday eve, the Shiv Sena launched a new campaign “Chalo Ayodhya, Chalo Varanasi” as the party prepared to tackle headlong what Thackeray termed as “BJP’s plans to exploit Ram Temple issue in the 2019 elections”.
“I shall go to Varanasi, Kashi, take part in the Ganga aarti and inspect ‘how clean’ the River Ganga has now become… I shall go to Ayodhya for a darshan of ‘Ram Lalla’, and pray at the temple,” he has announced.
Thackeray has appealed to partymen to refrain from bringing flowers, bouquets or putting up banners and hoardings for his birthday even as thousands turned up to greet him on Friday.