In an embarrassment for the Shiv Sena, the late Bal Thackeray’s elder son Jaidev expressed strong opposition to a memorial dedicated to his father at Shivaji Park yesterday.
Jaidev, the estranged elder brother of Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, said there is no need for a statue or memorial to be built at the historic ground in Dadar and its status as a play-cum-recreation ground should remain undisturbed.
“I feel that those Shiv Sena leaders who have made it big in the party should contribute money and buy land somewhere in the city for the statue or memorial. They can even construct it in the mayor’s bungalow compound. Why should it be constructed at Shivaji Park,” Jaidev asked mediapersons, even as lakhs converged on the ground to mark Thackeray’s first death anniversary.
In the past one year, there have been demands from variousquarters to erect a befitting statue of the late Thackeray at Shivaji Park, which had a special place for him during his lifetime. Jaidev said only a statue of the great warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji should adorn Shivaji Park. He added that there was no need for anybody else’s statue or memorial at the ground, including his father Bal Thackeray.
“When the Shiv Sena leaders can get land for constructing resorts, why can’t they get a piece of land for a Thackeray memorial? If the party was really serious on it, they could have easily got some land for him in the past one year,” Jaidev said sarcastically. Jaidev also said that not only should Shivaji Park be kept free of any memorial, even the Mahalaxmi Race Course should be left untouched.
Mumbai is already short of open public spaces and whatever is left should not be disturbed. “There is no need for any memorial or statue of Thackeray at Shivaji Park — he lives in the hearts of the people,” Jaidev asserted. Hinting at plans to enter politics, Jaidev said he would launch a campaign to unite Maharashtrians soon before taking further steps.