The Shiv Sena, which controls the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation along with the BJP, has come in for severe criticism following death of Dory, a female Humbolt penguin a Byculla zoo.
Despite opposition from other parties, the Shiv Sena got the BMC to spend about Rs 10 crore to buy the penguins from South Korea. Most political parties had questioned the move and expressed doubts about whether the animals could survive in the city’s zoo, which has been in a dire state for years.
However, the BMC bowed to the Shiv Sena and bough the eight penguins anyway, as it was a pet project of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aaditya. The process of bringing in the penguins, including building the quarantine area, was undertaken hurriedly as the Shiv Sena and BJP wanted to showcase the penguins before the next year’s BMC polls.
BJP leaders also said that there was a lot of interference in the project. Manoj Kotak, group leader of the BJP in the BMC, said, “There has been too much interference in procuring and maintaining these penguins, which has resulted in this mishap. It is very unfortunate.” MNS group leader Sandeep Deshpande, said, “The remaining penguins should be sent back immediately.”
Local legislator Waris Pathan of the All India Majlis E Ittehadul Muslimeen demanded an inquiry into penguin’s death.
Responding to the criticism, especially from MNS, Uddhav Thackeray said, “We will worry about the penguins, they should worry about saving their party.”
However, the Shiv Sena claimed it had done nothing wrong and said it would even press for a replacement for Dory. Trushna Vishwasrao, Shiv Sena corporator and leader of the house, said, “We will push for a replacement. We have not taken any wrong decision by bringing these penguins to the zoo. Once it is open to the public, the same opposition will appreciate it.”