Sena-MNS leave locals in the lurch | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Sena-MNS leave locals in the lurch

A janata darbar held at Shivaji Park to hear citizens’ grievances on the park beautification project on Friday ended abruptly without the public getting a chance to make itself heard.

mumbai Updated: Apr 03, 2010 01:16 IST
Rajendra Aklekar

A janata darbar held at Shivaji Park to hear citizens’ grievances on the park beautification project on Friday ended abruptly without the public getting a chance to make itself heard.

What began as a meeting to hear public opinion on the project ended as a shouting match between the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).

The public hearing organised by the BMC and MNS MLA Nitin Sardesai soon degenerated into heckling and slogan shouting between Sena and MNS activists. The senior citizens and residents gathered for the meet left the venue, defeating its purpose.

Sources said the Shiv Sena-run BMC abruptly began the Rs 7 crore beautification of Shivaji Park without any public intimation. Locals say they didn’t know about the project until they saw people digging in the area.

“We were not taken into confidence, which is why we objected to the project, and wanted to know exactly what was happening,” Shivram Desai, senior citizen said.

Another resident, Vivek Bhatkar said: “The BMC should stop the beautification project, and tell residents exactly what is happening there.”

The MNS took advantage of this, joined cause with the residents and got the work stopped on Wednesday, since the area is under the Sardesai’s jurisdiction. The Sena then vowed to give protection to continue the work.

Sardesai had called the meeting to listen to the views of residents on Friday evening. It turned out, there were more political workers and musclemen from both parties at the meeting than the residents themselves, shouting slogans and heckling each other.

Sena leader Milind Vaidya and Sardesai tried to pacify the mob, lost control of the situation, and the meeting was called off. Sardesai said: “It is very unfortunate that all the senior citizens were not able to convey their views, but whatever views we have gathered will be taken into consideration.”

Vaidya said: “BMC engineers also attended the meeting and they will take all the suggestions into account.”