"The Mahalaxmi racecourse area spans 8.5 lakh square meter out of which 6 lakh square meter belongs to the state government. Any decision on extending the lease should be taken in consultation with the chief minister," he told reporters.
In 1914, BMC had leased out the green space to the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), which runs the famed Racecourse, for 99 years.
Shiv Sena is against extending the lease and instead wants a garden and theme park at the location. "The issue is not about supporting horse-racing which takes place there. Such a vast open space is impossible to get in a city like Mumbai.
Today, you might want a garden and later all kinds of construction activity can start," Ajit said. Apart from horse-racing, the area is used by citizens for their morning and evening walks and big functions, including those organised by political parties, the NCP leader said.
Similar racecourses have come up in cities like Pune and Bangalore, he said, adding that "the racecourse in Mumbai has existed for several decades".
"Those who are in charge of the place should ensure that no new construction takes place without permission of the civic body and the government and maintain the place well," Ajit added.