In a show of bonhomie, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Monday visited his estranged cousin and Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray in a city hospital. The MNS leader, who rushed back to Mumbai from Alibag in Raigad district on hearing about the hospitalisation of Uddhav, also drove him home after discharge. This is the Thackeray cousins’ first meeting in three years.
Uddhav was admitted to the intensive care unit of the private hospital earlier in the day after he experienced chest pain. Doctors performed an angiography on him. The test revealed three blocks, Sena spokesperson Shweta Parulekar told The Hindu on the phone.
“Mr. Thackeray was planning to do a check-up in any case since he has been experiencing some chest discomfort. In fact, he wanted to do a routine check-up last week itself. He felt uneasy while he was on the treadmill and came to the hospital. The doctors will go through the reports and take a decision,” Ms. Parulekar said.
Jalil Parkar, pulmonary physician to the Thackerays, told The Hindu that Uddhav was brought to the hospital with some chest discomfort, but “it was not an emergency.”
Raj was at Alibag in the morning to attend a party event. However, when he heard about hospitalisation of Uddhav, he retuned to Mumbai and, along with his wife and mother, visited the hospital. The families shared a close moment where the MNS chief enquired about his cousin’s health. He spent around 40 minutes with Uddhav.
Speaking on the exchange between the estranged cousins, Mr. Parkar said: “Health concerns were explained to the family. Raj Thackeray met the medical team treating Uddhav.”
The MNS leader then returned to the hospital in the evening at the time of discharge and drove his cousin to the Thackerays’ residence ‘Matoshree’ in suburban Bandra and spent a brief evening there.
Earlier, Raj also paid a visit to Sena chief Bal Thackeray. A steady stream of political leaders visited Uddhav at the hospital. Mumbai Congress chief Kripa Shankar Singh also called on him. Heavy security was deployed at the hospital to regulate the stream of visitors.
Raj formed the MNS in 2006 after breaking away from the Sena and falling out with Uddhav Thackeray. Both cousins have dismissed speculation of rapprochement. The MNS is often accused by the Sena of dividing the Marathi vote.