A day before Bal Thackeray’s birthday, Maharashtra cabinet approves construction of the memorial at a heritage seafront bungalow near Shivaji Park.
Mumbai: Amid uncertainty over the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Maharashtra assembly polls, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is attempting to pander to the bitter ally by sanctioning Rs 100 crore for a proposed memorial of Bal Thackeray in Mumbai.
The CM-led Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will provide the finances from its own kitty, and will also undertake the construction of the memorial, the state cabinet decided Tuesday.
The cabinet decision comes a day before the Sena founder’s birth anniversary, an occasion when his son and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray sends a political message to the party’s cadre every year.
Also read: I asked Balasaheb Thackeray, “Are you a mafioso?” — and lived to tell the tale
Fadnavis and Thackeray will perform a puja at the proposed site of the memorial — a heritage bungalow which was until now the residence of Mumbai’s mayor. Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar moved into a new residence Monday to make way for the memorial.
However, a Shiv Sena source said: “This ceremony should not be mistaken as the bhoomi pujan of the project. Uddhav saheb did not want to perform a bhoomi pujan till the contract is finalised and machinery has been mobilised for the construction work to begin.”
IN 2016, the state government had appointed a trust under Uddhav’s leadership to come up with a design for his father’s memorial.
Subhash Desai, general secretary of the trust and a senior Shiv Sena minister in the Fadnavis cabinet, said: “The MMRDA will soon invite bids to build the memorial. The trust has finalised the design of the memorial and will also supervise the work.”
The mayor’s bungalow stands at Shivaji Park, the ground from where Thackeray first roared as Shiv Sena chief.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has agreed to lease the bungalow to the trust for 30 years at a nominal rate of one rupee per annum. Built in 1928, the bungalow is a protected heritage structure, so the memorial is proposed to be built underground without touching the original structure or hacking any trees on the four-acre seafront property.
Also read: Remembering Bal Thackeray, political cartoonist who metamorphosed into a political fanatic
No let-up in Sena’s anger
The CM’s push for the project comes at a time when the BJP has been trying to get the Shiv Sena’s support for the upcoming general elections. The Sena has resolved to contest the Lok Sabha as well as the assembly elections on its own. There has been no let-up in its criticism of the BJP-led governments at the state and the Centre, despite several attempts by the BJP to offer an olive branch.
Uddhav indicated his party’s resolve to go it alone when a few Sena MPs met the leader at his residence in Mumbai Tuesday. Sources quoted him as saying those who are scared of contesting alone should leave the party.
While the BJP is more keen on securing the Sena’s support for the Lok Sabha polls, Sena leaders are in favour of simultaneously working out a deal for the state assembly election, set to be held around October, with their party getting an upper hand.
However, a senior Sena leader, who did not wish to be named, said: “There is nothing on the table as of now. But still, the door is not closed.”
Its very true genuine alliance which people of maharashtra waiting for.
They r made for each other.
Congretulations Shri Uddhavji and Shri Fadnvis ji.
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