His critical condition notwithstanding, the Shiv Sena continued to be upbeat on the health of its supremo, Bal Thackeray, on Friday, with senior party leaders issuing positive feelers and commenting on “a definite improvement” in the health of the 86-year old leader.

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

Mr. Raut even assured that Mr. Thackeray would put in an appearance in front of the party men. “The prayers of the Sainiks are his [Balasaheb’s] tonic and the Shiv Sena is his bulwark of strength,” he said.

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

A doctor attending on him commented on the 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 the Lilavati hospital.

Medical sources are silent on the question of Mr. Thackeray’s vital parameters. The Sena chief, said to be suffering from acute respiratory problems, is on an intensive oxygen therapy programme.

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

While a significant part of Mumbai treaded gingerly on Thursday, the city showed a palpable release of tension with positive feelers being sent out on Mr. Thackeray’s health.

Public transport, which had dramatically slowed down since Thursday morning, commenced with gusto as taxis and auto-rickshaws resumed ferrying of passengers. Shops in Dadar and Bandra too cautiously upped their shutters following news of improvement in Mr. Thackeray’s health.

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