Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan might have publicly vetoed Shiv Sena’s demand for a Bal Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park, but Sena leaders continue to keep it on their list of options.
Sources said the Sena is actively considering the park, along with the Mayor’s bungalow located across the road from it. The Municipal Kreeda Bhavan, a civic-run gymkhana opposite Shivaji Park is another contender.
The final decision will be taken by Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray after the 13-day mourning period is over, Sena leaders said. Bal Thackeray passed away on November 17.
Mayor Sunil Prabhu denied having taken any decision so far. “We are still deliberating over various locations at which we can build the memorial.”
Sena corporator and civic standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale said,“There are a number of options and Shivaji Park remains one of them. However, Uddhavji will make a decision soon.”
A senior Sena leader, who did not wish to be named said, “The state government and other senior state-level leaders have been asking us to settle on the Mayor’s bungalow as the memorial site. They insist that Shivaji Park is not a feasible option.”
While the location is yet to be fixed, the Sena is considering several ways to commemorate its beloved leader. “We want to build a fitting memorial for Balasaheb. We don’t want merely a bust of him. We want a way to display his speeches, cartoons and his photographs in an elaborate manner,” said another Sena leader, requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi, while speaking to reporters in Nashik said the Sena will ensure that a memorial is built at Shivaji Park. “Although we are yet to take a call on the location, if Sainiks decide that the memorial will be built at Shivaji Park we will not take no as an answer from anyone, be it the chief minister or even the prime minister.”
Congress party spokesperson Sachin Sawant said it was “unfortunate that a leader of Joshi's stature was using the language of force.”