Mumbai: Sena, BJP squabble over credit for coastal road project

Shiv Sena is fuming after Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar went to town with hoardings thanking CM Devendra Fadnavis and PM Narendra Modi for helping the project take off; Sena claims it was their chief Uddhav Thackeray who envisaged it

Even before a single brick is laid, the two ruling parties in the state government are scrambling to hog credit for the recently approved Nariman Point-Kandivli coastal road project.

Also read: Coastal road from Kandivli to Nariman Point gets the thumbs-up

One of the hoardings plastered across the city that has irked the Shiv Sena. Pic/Nimesh Dave
One of the hoardings plastered across the city that has irked the Shiv Sena. Pic/Nimesh Dave

While the BJP believes the efforts of the state and central government helped get the project off the ground, the Shiv Sena are of the opinion that they should get a pat on the back because their party supremo had envisaged the plan.

One of Shelar’s hoardings in Mahim
One of Shelar’s hoardings in Mahim

The differences emerged after BJP MLA Ashish Shelar went to town with posters and banners all over the city thanking Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for granting approval to the coastal road project.

Also read: Shiv Sena MPs protest, demand early completion of Mumbai coastal road project

The hoarding also states the project will save time and fuel for the citizens. “It is they (Fadnavis and Modi) who have taken a lot of efforts. (Environment Minister Prakash) Javadekarji has expedited the project,” he said.

Sena simmers
Shelar’s move didn’t go down too well with the Shiv Sena, whose members and supporters vented their ire on social media and claimed he was stealing credit for the idea which, they claimed, originated from their fold.

Siddhesh Sawant, core committee member of Sena’s youth wing Yuva Sena, wrote on Twitter: “@ShelarAshish is stealing credit of #UddhavThackeray’s idea &thanking CM, just to be in the good books of @Dev_Fadnavis!”

Asked about the hoardings, Arvind Bhosale, Sena spokesperson, had this to say: “Everyone knows that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had openly spoken about the coastal road in our vision document.

We are maintaining our decency, else these hoardings would have been torn by now. The CM has spoken to Uddhavji on the coastal road issue. It appears that he (Shelar) is doing all this to purposely create differences between the Sena and BJP, and trouble the CM.”

Neelam Gorhe, Member of Legislative Council and a senior party leader, added, “There is no need for us to take cognisance of such hoardings. People know who is raising these issues. Our communication style is one-to-one with the people. Putting up hoardings is not our style.”

Invoking the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, she continued, “Our chief (Bal Thackeray) had thought about it in 1992. It was initiated in 1996 and completed post-1999. It has been our party’s priority to provide good transport infrastructure to Mumbaikars.

It may be Government A or Government B. We always welcome anything good.” Another senior party functionary claimed that even one look at the promises made to the city during the general and assembly elections makes it clear that the coastal road idea belonged to Uddhav Thackeray and the BMC.

‘No fight over credit’
Shelar chose to play down the issue. Dismissing the hate on social media, he said, “These people are not from any party. I am sure they are not from the Shiv Sena. There is no fighting between the parties over credit.

We are clear about the fact that we want to serve the city together.” Niranjan Shetty, BJP’s chief spokesperson for Mumbai, however, said he believes they are in the right. “Those who claim it was their pilot project should rethink, because it took four-and-a-half years for them to convince the other (Congress-NCP) government that this coastal road was important for Mumbaikars.

“It is the will power of the present Devendra Fadnavis government that made it go ahead and convince the central government, and get all the necessary permissions for the project that, too, within four months. Hence, our party has put these hoardings and has all the right to display them,” Shetty told mid-day.

What they say

Neelam Gorhe, Shiv Sena MLC
Our communication style is one-to-one with the people. Putting up hoardings is not our style.

Arvind Bhosale, Shiv Sena spokesperson
It appears that he (Shelar) is doing all this to purposely create differences between the Sena and BJP, and trouble the CM.

Niranjan Shetty, BJP Mumbai spokesperson
Those who claim it was their pilot project should rethink, because it took four-and-a-half years for them to convince the other (Congress-NCP) government that this coastal road was important for Mumbaikars.

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