While the Shiv sainiks have been vociferous in their demands for a memorial for late chief Bal Thackeray at Shivaji Park, Sena leaders are trying to reach a compromise. They have suggested that a small statue or samadhi be set up at the park and a proper memorial elsewhere.
“Sainiks may want it (memorial at Shivaji Park) but does the ground have any space? The party is examining where it can be done. The samadhi can be built at the park, and the memorial can be set up elsewhere,” said a Sena leader. He added that the party’s corporators were scouting for likely locations for the memorial.
“(Manohar) Joshi started the issue by calling for Balasaheb’s memorial on the ground, so some people are trying to turn the tables on him by calling for a memorial on the Kohinoor mill premises (which has been purchased by him),” said the leader, alleging that the demand being made from both sides reflected the party’s “internal politics” and power play.
A sainik from Dadar said, “There seems to be some confusion between a memorial and a statue on the grounds. The word memorial is misleading.” He added that while the park, which was one of the largest open spaces in Mumbai, could not be used for building the memorial, Thackeray’s statue could be built here like the one of his late wife Meenatai.
“If Meenatai’s statue can be erected on the ground, then why not Balasaheb’s?” he questioned, adding that the memorial, which could be built elsewhere, could have a collection of Thackeray’s cartoons and recordings of his speeches.
“There are many things which are part of Balasaheb’s legacy which can be showcased there,” he said. He also said that the demand for the memorial to be at Kohinoor mill premises was “illogical” as it did not have any reference or connect with Thackeray.
Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut, who is also the executive editor of Sena mouthpiece Saamna, said that a right decision in this regard will be taken at the right time.