Shiv Sena to join countrywide shutdown

Mumbai, Feb 8 (IANS) In what could be a litmus test for his leadership, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will lead a workers' procession Feb 18 and the party will join the two-day countrywide shutdown Feb 20-21, an official here said Friday.

Thackeray has directed that the agitation "against the central government's policies" be made a complete success, a statement in the party mouthpiece Saamna said here Friday.

A massive workers' rally will be taken out to Azad Maidan in south Mumbai under Thackeray's leadership and all trade unions have been urged to join it, said the party's labour wing Bharatiya Kamgar Sena chief Suryakant Mahadik Friday.

Thackeray had instructed the party to ensure 100 percent participation and success in the countrywide shutdown in the state to protest the centre's economic policies, which have have hit common man hard, the statement said.

Among the unions slated to take part in the two-day shutdown include the INTUC, AITUC, BMS, HMS and CITU.

This will be Thackeray's first major public agitation after his father Bal Thackeray's death Nov 17 last year.

In the past, the participation of the Shiv Sena in any agitation and a mere word from Bal Thackeray was sufficient to completely shut down Mumbai.

The labour agitation assumes added significance as it comes around what is billed as the final budget session of the present Lok Sabha, with elections due early next year.

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