With silence zone norms making it difficult to hold rallies at Shivaji Park, the MMRDA grounds at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) seems to have become the preferred venue for political gatherings.
While the Shiv Sena has announced the MMRDA grounds as the tentative venue for the grand finale vote appeal by party chief Bal Thackeray on February 13, sources from Congress-NCP are contemplating over a joint rally with their party chiefs - Congress president Sonia Gandhi and NCP chief Sharad Pawar - at the venue in the first week of February. The 40,000 sqm ground - which can accommodate at least 1 lakh people - is also the spot where social activist Anna Hazare had held his fast in December.
Reason: as per the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, Shivaji Park has been declared a silence zone, and does not allow use of loudspeakers. Obtaining permission for events at the 28-acre Shivaji Park becomes tough owing to the complaints made by residents and sportspersons living in the area over the inconvenience caused by the loud noise at rallies. The ground, however, is considered historically significant.
"The Shivaji Park at Dadar is no an ordinary ground, certainly not for state politics. It has been witness to the birth of several parties, victory speeches, election battle and mud-slinging. It is believed that a message delivered from here is impactful," said Surendra Jondhale, head, political science department, Mumbai university.
The Shivaji Park has witnessed the formation of three major political parties of Maharashtra - the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the recent Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
That explains why the MNS has requested the Bombay high court (HC) for permission to hold its rally at Shivaji Park on February 13. "If we do not get the ground, we might move the Supreme Court. The decision will be taken by our party chief," said an MNS leader, requesting anonymity. The party is hopeful that its chief Raj Thackeray will pitch for his victory in civic polls at the Shivaji Park. The hearing is scheduled on February 2.