With the Centre and state governments clearing the decks on Tuesday for construction of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial on the 12.5 acres of Mumbai’s Indu Mills, the Shiv Sena’s resolve for setting up a memorial for late Sena chief Bal Thackeray got even stronger.
Both Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and Mayor Sunil Prabhu, who were slapped notices by the BMC on Monday asking them to remove the temporary samadhi (a funerary monument) of Thackeray built by their party at Shivaji Park, made it clear that they will not budge from their stand. The Sainiks want to retain a small samadhi at the cremation site at Shivaji Park, plus a bigger site in Mumbai identified for a full-fledged memorial.
“Balasaheb was a leader of a great stature and lakhs of people are visiting their god’s samadhi everyday. Why is the commissioner targeting the samadhi when there are thousands of encroachments in the city?” Prabhu said admitting that he has received a notice. He remained evasive when asked if it was right to construct a structure without permissions.
“I have not received any notice as yet but no one should show us the rulebook. We understand our laws,” Raut said talking to Hindustan Times from Delhi where he is attending the Parliament session.
The BMC notice has mentioned that the structure and pandal built by the Sena has started to look like a permanent memorial, and it should be removed. It also mentioned that only 100- square-metre space had been allowed and only for a day.
Neither Raut nor Prabhu had any concrete answer as to what the Sena is planning to do next. While Prabhu said the party higher-ups will take a decision in consultation with the state, Raut maintained that Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray will take a final call on the issue.
“The samadhi at Shivaji Park will remain. Uddhavji will decide the next course of action and where the memorial will come up,” Raut said.