After months of deliberation and site visits of the seven plots proposed by the government for the memorial to Bal Thackeray, the Shiv Sena has finally decided on a plot at Shivaji Park, adjacent to the mayor’s bungalow and in line with the Savarkar memorial at Dadar.
Currently in possession of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the plot is also close to the current memorial at Shivaji Park.
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was keen to have the memorial at Shivaji Park, as his father always held his rallies there and Sena Bhavan is just a stone’s throw away.
Being a heritage site and a public space, the Shivaji Park cannot be used to construct a permanent memorial, though a plaque on a small strip of landscaped garden 20ft from the funeral site has stood in a corner of the ground for more than two years.
Uddhav who is on a holiday with his family will return next week, after which the process of acquiring the plot will begin. The announcement is expected to take place on June 19, when the Sena celebrates its foundation day and enters its golden jubilee year.
The memorial will have a gallery of the caricatures and political cartoons drawn by Thackeray. It will also have a picture gallery of the journey of the leader and important events in his life.
In 2014, on the second death anniversary of the late Sena chief, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, on behalf of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), had promised to construct a memorial befitting the leader’s stature, following which a committee selected seven plots.
While two of the seven plots are close to Shivaji Park and owned by the BMC, the others are in Parel, Wadala and Matunga. “The chosen plot is undoubtedly the most favourable one and the area has significance in the history of the Sena. But we are waiting for Uddhavji to come and finalise everything,” industries minister and Sena senior leader, Subhash Desai, told Hindustan Times.
Desai was part of the committee that inspected the plots proposed by the government.
Explaining why the bigger plots were rejected, a committee member said while one was near a cemetery, the other ones had no importance for the party. One was a Bombay Dyeing warehouse in Parel and another salt pan land in Wadala, which did not please Uddhav.