Dadar’s Shivaji Park has three new selfie spots — specific spots reserved for you to take your phone out and click a selfie. Rewind three days to find out why.
What started out as one selfie point closing down because of lack of funds to maintain it, ended up giving Dadar three more in just three days, with three political parties trying to outdo each other.
On Wednesday, the MNS’ former corporator Sandeep Deshpande said he will shut the popular selfie point as he lacked funds. Soon after, the BJP’s Mumbai unit chief Ashish Shelar tweeted that the BJP will take over and that the party has permissions from the BMC to re-instate it by Thursday evening.
The Shiv Sena’s newly-elected corporator Vishaka Raut also jumped into the competition, putting up a hoarding on Thursday saying the Sena will make a more “cultural selfie spot.”
By Friday, all three parties had applied for permissions from the G/North ward office to set up selfie points in Shivaji Park. Ramakant Biradar, the assistant commissioner of the G/North ward office (which includes Dadar) said the existing spot on the eastern side of the park will be divided between the MNS and BJP, and a spot on the western side will be alloted to the Sena.
“I received applications from all three parties. There is enough space for everyone to set up selfie spots at Shivaji Park. I have already given permission to BJP and will issue permissions to MNS and Sena,” Biradar said.
When on Wednesday, the BJP said it would take over the spot, the MNS retorted saying that its chief, Raj Thackeray, wanted to continue mainitaining the selfie point. A day later, in a letter to the ward office, Deshpande said the party kept changing themes at the spot regularly. “The material for the current theme had been removed because we have ordered for new material,” the letter read. “It is our brainchild, which other parties are now trying to steal. They cannot come up with their own ideas,” Deshpande said.
Ajit Kadam, the Sena shakha pramukh from Dadar said, “We have opposed the BJP’s demand, as our corporator has been elected in this area. We have applied because we do not want teenagers in the area to suffer.”
By evening, the selfie wars had caught the attention of rival political parties and residents alike.
The NCP’s Mumbai unit chief Sachin Ahir said instead of a selfie point, there should be a study point at Shivaji Park. “A lot of people can use this spot for reading, so we are demanding a study point instead of a selfie point,” Ahir said.
Residents of the area are not happy with the decision either. Vrishali Namjoshi, who goes to Shivaji Park for walks every day said, “Walking there is already cumbersome as youngsters block the area. Now, with three selfie points, senior citizens and people who bring their children for an evening walk here will have to face a lot of hindrances.”
Dr Sarita Kulkarni, a member of the Shivaji Park ALM, said Dadar would have improved drastically if political parties had pursued other issues.
“They should make footpaths super-selfie points because they are in a pathetic condition. I think MNS also lost in the elections because they concentrated on selfie points that look good, but there are other pressing issues in the area.”