Despite the civic body’s moves to remove the temporary memorial to Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray at the spot where he was cremated in Shivaji Park, a defiant Sena wants the structure to be retained.
“The temporary structure is venerated by Shiv Sainiks and has a lot of emotional value attached to it. How can it be removed in such circumstances? The government will not dare to remove it forcibly,” said a senior Sena leader.
He, however, admitted that the Sena had gone soft on the demand for a permanent memorial at the ground because of logistical and legal constraints. “The memorial should be a fitting tribute to his life and work,” he said and added the Centre’s decision to release land for the memorial to Dalit icon Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar at Indu Mills in Dadar had reinforced the Sena’s position on Thackeray’s memorial. He also said that the party's executive president Uddhav Thackeray, who is touring the state till mid-December, was likely o declare his position on the issue soon.
Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson Sanjay Raut told DNA that the party wanted the temporary structure to be retained. When asked about the BMC notice sent to him and Mayor Sunil Prabhu he said, “Many such notices are sent in the city of Mumbai. Let's see what happens.”