Shiv Sena scion Aaditya Thackeray’s Facebook update in protest of a heliport for VVIPs at the city’s mid-city green lung in the Mahalaxmi racecourse found support from an unexpected quarter yesterday, when Congress’s ex-MP Priya Dutt commented on the thread, saying: ‘We are with you; Mumbai needs every open space to be preserved’.
Aaditya Thackeray’s post on Facebook, on which Congress’s Priya Dutt wrote a comment supporting his views
Thackeray had posted a statement against the heliport on his Facebook page, saying that he was unhappy about news reports that Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had proposed a VVIP heliport at the 226-acre Mahalaxmi racecourse. His post read: ‘In news, we read about the government readying a proposal to convert the racecourse into a heliport so that VVIPs can land multiple helicopters at a time. This will entail a security cordon and will isolate the common man from the racecourse.
We will oppose every move that will take away and isolate the 226-acre green park from Mumbaikars. To me, each and every Mumbaikar is a VVIP. The visiting VIPs can land at the secure naval helibase, or Raj Bhavan in Town.’ The post further reads, ‘To each of those for whom this mid-city park is part and pride of their city life, do share this and do write to the CM opposing the government’s move to grab land and turn it into a concrete, security-cordoned heliport for VIPs.’
While nearly 800 people liked the post, about three dozen commented on it, one of them being Dutt, who wrote, ‘We are with you; Mumbai needs every open space to be preserved’. Speaking to Dutt, mid-day asked her if this wouldn’t be seen as a statement against her party and Chavan, as Aaditya’s statement categorically opposes him.
To this, Dutt replied, “This is not about parties or government. It is about saving open spaces in our city, and as a citizen, I am for that.” Dutt, who represented the Mumbai North Central constituency for two terms, lost it to BJP’s Poonam Mahajan in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, by a margin of 1.87 lakh votes.
It is no secret that Dutt, besides being washed away by an anti-incumbency wave, also experienced internal party issues with MLAs like Kripashankar Singh and Naseem Khan. This isn’t the first time that a Congress leader in the city or the state has spoken out openly against Chavan Dutt’s statement puts her in the same league with former South Mumbai MP Milind Deora, who was involved in a spat with the CM over the Campa Cola fiasco last year.