Bal Thackeray's critical condition notwithstanding, the Shiv Sena continued to be upbeat on Friday, with senior party leaders speaking of “a definite improvement” in the health of the 86-year old leader.

Speaking to reporters outside the Thackeray residence, ‘Matoshree,’ in suburban Bandra, MP Sanjay Raut said: “Balasaheb’s heartbeat, pulse rate and blood pressure are veering towards normalcy…it is an astounding recovery.”

“The prayers of the Sainiks are his [Balasaheb’s] tonic and the Shiv Sena is his bulwark of strength,” he said.

Senior Sena leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi said Mr. Thackeray’s health had shown “a perceptible improvement.”

“He is said to be responding to treatment and his condition is better than what it was on Wednesday night” said Republican Party of India (A) president Ramdas Athawale, urging people to desist from rumour-mongering.

While hordes of dedicated party workers and supporters continued to chant slogans and stand vigil outside ‘Matoshree,’ several Muslim clerics offered prayers for the Sena chief’s speedy recovery in the evening.

A doctor attending on him said on condition of anonymity that “while Mr. Thackeray was stable, the situation remained largely unchanged.”

“His condition is being constantly monitored,” said the doctor, quashing rumours of the Sena chief being shifted to Lilavati Hospital.

Medical sources are silent on the question of Mr. Thackeray’s vital parameters.

According to reports, the Sena patriarch was taken off life support systems on Thursday after he showed some signs of improvement.

Between Thursday night and Friday morning, Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray addressed Sena followers without elaborating on the party chief’s health.

Mr. Thackeray had said: “Balasaheb’s condition is stable. I had said yesterday and I will say again today, I have not given up hope. You too must not give up hope because we all are fighting soldiers of a fighting leader.”

The deluge of celebrities, politicians and godmen continued at “Matoshree” with Baba Ramdev, actor Hema Malini, actor-director Rakesh Roshan and actor Jeetendra among the visitors.

Wishing the Sena leader speedy recovery, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Venkaiah Naidu said Mr. Thackeray was the Mahayuti [political alliance of the Shiv Sena-BJP-RPI (A)] alliance’s guiding light and described him as a “fighter.”

Public transport, which had dramatically slowed down since Thursday morning, resumed with taxis and autorickshaws ferrying passengers. Shops in the Sena strongholds of Dadar and Bandra too reopened following news of improvement in Mr. Thackeray’s health.