Mumbai: Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray's 86th birthday on Monday was a low-key affair due to the code of conduct in place ahead of the Mumbai civic elections.

With elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) only a month away, there were no hoardings or banners to wish Thackeray on his birthday. However, Thackeray, who had been ailing for a while but on Monday looked well, spoke to journalists and said a meeting with Shiv Sainiks was like a tonic.

He regretted that he was unable to meet all of them owing to his age and frail health. Thackeray said he would address two rallies in Mumbai and adjoining Thane in February and was saving up his energy.

Party workers thronged Thackeray's residence in Bandra and wished him good health. They also said he would make an emotional appeal to people via word of mouth to help keep the BMC with the Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance.

The alliance is being challenged by the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, which have joined hands in the Mumbai civic polls.

(Agencies)