While the state government might have the final say in what happens to the Turf Club’s lease, the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) alliance is not going to give up without a fight. Even if the state agrees to renew Turf Club’s lease, the saffron alliance has now decided to oppose the resolution.
Despite a majority of the plot being owned by the state, the plot is a Schedule W property, which means that the civic body has the responsibility of leasing it out despite it not being the owner.
So, while the state will take the final call, a formal resolution to approve the lease agreement with the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) will have to be approved by the civic improvements committee first, followed by an approval by the general body.
The civic improvements panel, ruled by the BJP, has now made it clear that it will not give its sanction to any proposal which asks for the Turf Club’s lease to be renewed. “Our demand is simple, instead of the plot being given out to private parties, it should be converted into a public open space,” said panel chairman Dr Ram Barot. If the proposal is rejected at the improvements committee stage, then it doesn’t reach the corporation.
While the state government can overrule any of these resolutions, the Sena is confident that it can divide the plot based on ownership and take an independent on the nearly 1/3rd plot of the racecourse, which will not be given to the Turf Club.
However, irrespective of what alliance partner, the BJP, decides at the improvements panel level, the Sena is determined to oppose the resolution at the corporation level, senior Sena leaders confirmed.
HT had, in its May 18 edition reported how the Sena wanted the BMC-owned part of the racecourse plot back. “We are looking at ways in which we can take this part back, independent of the state’s decision,” said Sena leader and standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale.