The two factions of Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray and Eknath Shinde are set to hold shows of strength on Dussehra on Wednesday.
Shiv Sena has traditionally held a large annual rally on Dussehra and the two camps clashes this year over which one would hold the rally in Mumbai's Shivaji Partk, the Sena's traditional venue. This is because both the factions claim to be the "real" Sena following the split in legislature party with Shinde's rebellion that also toppled the government.
Given the potential of supporters of the two factions coming to face-to-face, stringest security arrangements have been made across Mumbai.
While Thackeray will address the rally at the Sena's traditional venue Shivaji Park in central Mumbai, Shinde's faction has organised their Dussehra event at the MMRDA ground in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), located close to 'Matoshree', the private residence of Uddhav.
"Thousands of people are expected from across the state for both rallies and, therefore, arrangements have been made to ensure law and order and deal with any untoward incident. Local police as well as additional cover by other units will be in place," an official said.
Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre Patil said his team visited Shivaji Park and BKC to take stock of security arrangements at the venues.
Stringent security measures are in place as there is a possibility of supporters of the two rival factions coming face to face in Mumbai, which may lead to law and order issues, police said.
Incidentally, the security of Shinde was increased recently due to a threat input, police added.
Shinde visited the MMRDA ground at BKC in suburban Mumbai and took stock of the preparations for the October 5 event.
"I have visited the venue (in BKC) and the preparations are in full swing. Lakhs of people from across the state will come to the rally and all departments are working to ensure they don't face any problem. Our preparations will get over tomorrow (Tuesday) and this rally will be a success," Shinde said.
Sheetal Mhatre, a spokesperson for the Shinde faction, said the preparations at the ground are almost 80 per cent over and 4-5,000 buses have been booked by MLAs and MPs to ferry their supporters to the rally site.
At the Shivaji Park too, the Uddhav faction is making its own preparations for the rally — building the stage and making seating arrangements for Shiv Sainiks loyal to Sena president Uddhav.
The top leadership of the Uddhav faction met at Shiv Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters in Dadar, to take stock of the on-going preparations.
(With PTI inputs)