When both the ruling partners in the state government are involved in one-upmanship, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government has paved the way for a grand memorial of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray to be built at mayor’s bungalow, which is situated at Shivaji Park, Dadar. The state has issued an ordinance that will enable the plot to be leased out at nominal rates to the Balasaheb Thackeray Rashtriya Smarak society, headed by Uddhav Thackeray, chief of Shiv Sena.
The mayor’s residence is now likely to be shifted to Byculla, according to sources. The new mayor, to be elected in March this year, is likely to be shifted to the zoo-facing bungalow at Byculla.
According to the existing provision, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) cannot sell, lease out or transfer any plot less than the market value. But with the ordinance in place, the BMC will now be able to lease out the up-market plot for the memorial at nominal rates.
Sena was pushing for the sea-side bungalow for the memorial. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in 2015 had declared that Thackeray’s memorial will be built at mayor’s bungalow. It was later acknowledged by the committee constituted to finalise the site for memorial. The committee was headed by chief secretary Swadhin Kshatriya. The committee approved the bungalow for the memorial after visiting several sites. The bungalow inside the Byculla zoo, which was recently renovated, is spread over about 6,000 square feet and has a sprawling garden.
A senior civic official said, “The mayor elected in March will be mostly shifted to Byculla. The decision is yet to be finalised.” The civic elections are scheduled in February 2017. The current mayor’s, Snehal Ambekar, term will also end at the same time.