Mumbai: On his 50th birthday on Thursday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray cut a special cake designed like an EVM while 36 petrol pumps in Mumbai and many more in the state offered disounts from Rs 4 to Rs 9 per litre, a party spokesperson said.
At the selected 36 fuel stations in Mumbai (one in each assembly constituency), plus 48 in the state (one each for every Lok Sabha constituency), there were serpentine queues of two-wheelers since dawn to take advantage of the scheme offering discounted petrol, with the MNS to recompense these pumps the difference from the official price on Thursday.
MNS spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande compared the MNS's unique initiative to the 1930 historic 'Salt Satyagraha' of Mahatma Gandhi.
"This is like the Salt Satyagraha. People are not here to avail the discounts in petrol prices, but express their anguish against the government for the very high fuel prices," he told media persons.
Thackeray, on his part, made another statement - by cutting a large special cake designed like an electronic voting machine (EVM), which the MNS and almost all other opposition political parties are opposing.
As part of the celebrations, MNS activists helped provide some free comic relief to the people burdened under spiraling fuel prices and inflation - sporting printed T-shirts of some recent political cartoons created by Thackeray.
Hundreds of activists were seen thronging Thackeray's residence in Dadar west wearing these special T-shirts exhibiting his cartoons, many targeting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and other leaders, and his artistic views on many contemporary political developments in the country.
Meanwhile, Thursday's petrol price in Mumbai stood at Rs 84.3 per litre, down from the highest of Rs 85.6 in May, and the MNS 'discount' marked a significant relief for two-wheeler owners.
MNS will pay the owners the difference in the prices at the close of the day.
Though exact figures are not immediately available, it is estimated that several thousands of people took advantage of the MNS initiative at each of the selected outlets for the discounted fuel.
Elsewhere in the state, special prayers, aartis and poojas were held by local district leaders at prominent temples in Solapur, Pune and other places, praying for Thackeray's long life and prosperity.