The Shiv Sena has said it will remove the makeshift memorial to late Shiv Sena leader from the Shivaji Park grounds on Monday. It had been set up a month ago after Thackeray was cremated at the spot. The Sena is, instead, planning to create a small flower garden with a plaque in Thackeray’s memory, the proposal for which will be submitted to the civic body.
The memorial controversy has exposed several conflicts and struggles within the Sena. Sainiks who heard senior leaders like Manohar Joshi and MP Sanjay Raut pressing for a memorial at Shivaji Park, who stood vigil to prevent the removal of the memorial, are unnerved with Uddhav’s stand.
Raut, who previously said decisions like construction of Thackeray’s memorial do not need a legal nod, was asked to write to the BMC saying the makeshift memorial would be removed and the site restored.
Similarly, mayor Sunil Prabhu and civic standing committee chief Rahul Shewale, who had announced the renaming
of Shivaji Park as Shiv Tirth went back on his statement. Both these instances have not gone down well with grass-roots Sainiks.
“As Sainiks we will never challenge any order from Matoshree, but it is disturbing that the Sena has agreed to shift from the cremation spot,” said a Sainik from Thane.
So, why did the Sena, come to a compromise with the government?
Sources close to Uddhav say he felt the statements by Joshi and Raut were unwarranted during the mourning period. Their actions were also seen as a power struggle between the Sena’s second-rung leaders.
On Uddhav’s moves, political expert Surendra Jondhale said even while working out a compromise formula, Uddhav was politically manipulative when he said Sainiks would move the memorial. “ This way he has appealed to both sides,” he said.