As the demand for a memorial for Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray snowballs into a political slugfest, the state government is treading cautiously on the issue.
If the state government decides to give in to public sentiments and allow the Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park, it would have to change the ground’s reservation.
The Shiv Sainiks have been demanding a memorial at Shivaji Park in Dadar, the place where Thackeray was cremated on November 18.
But there are are hurdles in meeting the demand.
A top official said the ground’s reservation either for a recreation ground or a playground does not permit a memorial.
The state government says that Shivaji Park is a recreational ground while the Bombay high court tags it a playground, banning any construction or parking at the ground.
The official said that even if the state government’s contention was admitted, the construction of a memorial at Shivaji Park was not possible. “The government will have to change the ground’s reservation if it gives in to the memorial demand,” he said.
He also added that the government has not yet received the formal demand from the Shiv Sena.
However, the government is also hopeful that the demand for a memorial would die down as a majority of the locals has been opposing it.
“The MNS has opposed the construction of a memorial at Shivaji Park. Last year, the party snatched the local body seats from the Shiv Sena. If the MNS is talking the language of the locals, the government’s task would become easy,” he added.
Even though the state government is in a dilemma over the issue, it is careful to take a stance on the memorial demand. Home minister RR Patil has said the issue could be discussed amicably in a meeting of all party leaders.