Anticipating a run-in with the Shiv Sena, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi will fly to Mumbai on Friday morning just days after he engaged in a war of words with the Sena over its ‘Mumbai-for-Marathis’ campaign.

The Sena has threatened to show black flags to Mr. Gandhi.

According to Mr. Gandhi’s programme managers, not once was rescheduling of the programme — planned several weeks in advance — considered in view of the controversy that broke out earlier this week.

“Undoubtedly, Mr. Gandhi’s visit at this juncture will allow the Sena to flog the issue but that cannot be helped,” they said.

Even as Mr. Gandhi was closeted with close aides at his 12 Tughlak Road residence in the evening to prepare for the visit, Congress leaders sought to point out that cancelling or rescheduling the programme would be construed as buckling to the Sena’s pressure tactics.

During his day’s visit to Mumbai as part of the ongoing membership drive for the Youth Congress, Mr. Gandhi will interact with students at Ville Parle and Ghatkopar.

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