Sena chief says he is stable, asks people to overthrow Cong govts

In a late-evening statement on Monday, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackarey sought to scotch rumours about his health and said he was stable. The 86-year-old, whose failing health has raised concern even since he looked frail and virtually announced retirement from public life in a video message for the annual Sena Dussehra rally in October, greeted people on Diwali eve and urged them to overthrow the Congress governments in the state and at the Centre, which he said were a 'cancer'.

The largely political statement attacked the Congress governments for failing to address issues such as rising inflation, electricity shortage, corruption and Indo-Pak relations.

"The life of Indians and Maharashtrians under Congress rule is full of hardships," Thackeray said and slammed Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde for allegedly saying all problems of the country would be solved by playing a cricket match with Pakistan.

"They should give tickets to Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru with biryani and place in their laps to watch the match."

Thackarey said he would once again be hale and hearty as wishes of Sena acting chief Uddhav and lakhs of sainiks were with him.

In an editorial in party mouthpiece Saamana earlier in the morning, the Sena chief had said he was ailing but not on ventilator.

"I am feeling breathless, but I do not require a ventilator." Family and friends, including estranged nephew and MNS chief Raj Thackeray, have been by the Sena chief's side the past week.

Raj's daily visits to 'Matoshree' since Saturday have sparked rumours of Thackeray being critical.

"I am not keeping well and have never hidden anything about my illness. I said I was a bit down but that does not mean I have collapsed," he said. In an indication of thawing relations with his estranged nephew, the Sena patriarch said Raj had been visiting him frequently to enquire about his health. He also said he was being looked after adequately by Uddhav.

Thackeray warned the media against printing and broadcasting uncorroborated news about his health.

He said the media should not forget how sainiks had earlier ransacked offices for publishing unsubstantiated news.

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