Shiv Sena to celebrate foundation day Wednesday

Mumbai, June 18 (IANS) The Shiv Sena will celebrate its 47th foundation day at a major function here Wednesday. This is the first time when it will be held in the absence of party founder Bal Thackeray, who died last year.

Party president Uddhav Thackeray will address a crucial meeting that will set the tone for next year's Lok Sabha elections, a party official said Tuesday.

The party has invited all leaders from the districts, villages, towns and cities, besides its elected representatives at various levels, for Wednesday's meeting.

Party officials remain tight-lipped about the agenda for the meeting to be held in the sprawling Shanmukhananda Hall in Mumbai.

The party has cancelled the regular entertainment programme that was an annual feature at the anniversary bash, and will restrict itself only to a conference of the party officials.

The 52-year old Thackeray will not accept any felicitation, flowers or bouquets on the occasion, the party official said.

The Shiv Sena was founded June 19, 1966 by a cartoonist-turned-politician Bal Thackeray.

Initially, it thrived as a movement in Mumbai with a strong emphasis on demanding rights for the local Maharashtrians -- 'sons of the soil' -- over the so-called 'outsiders' and migrants.

Led by Bal Thackeray, Shiv Sena quickly grew in popularity and formed a government in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (1994-99) in the state. The party is also a key constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

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