A day after Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray was cremated at Shivaji Park, the party has expressed its desire to have a memorial for its departed leader at the same venue where he addressed his first public rally after launching the party in 1966. “We want the government to allow the construction of Balasaheb’s grand memorial at Shivaji Park,” said Manohar Joshi, former chief minister and senior Sena leader.
The state government refused to give a definite answer, saying it will look into it once a formal request is made. However, a minister of state said the goverment will consider the request postively.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan indicated that the government granted permission to the Sena to perform Thackeray’s last rites at Shivaji Park to avoid law and order problems, implying there was no question of extending permission for the construction of a memorial. “I have not received any formal proposal,” he said. When pressed for his stand, he said: “Let us see.”
The Congress-NCP combine, however, are exercising caution to avoid a controvery. Bhaskar Jadhav, NCP minister of state for urban development, said: “Let us get the formal proposal; we will consider it positively.” But senior NCP leaders insisted that the final decision will be taken after consulting party chief Sharad Pawar.”
Joshi said it is befitting that Thackeray’s memorial is built near Shivaji’s statue. “He worshipped Shivaji all his life and propagated Hindutva.”