Shiv Sena fails to shift Thackeray memorial by own deadline

The deadlock over removing Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s makeshift memorial from Shivaji Park continues. The Sena, which was supposed to shift the memorial yesterday, did not do so as it was unsure whether it would be allotted space for a new memorial after it took down the existing one.

Bal Thackerays memorial
Still standing: Despite Shiv Sena promising to shift Bal Thackeray’s memorial by December 17, it was not done, which may lead to BMC action. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

Last week, the BMC had served a notice to Mayor Sunil Prabhu and Sena MP Sanjay Raut to remove the makeshift structure at Shivaji Park. In reply to this notice, Raut wrote to Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte, promising that the temporary structure would be removed by yesterday.

Interestingly, while the Sena wants a smaller space in Shivaji Park, it has not yet put a proposal before the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for the same. This is also one of the reasons why the Sena is dithering on removing the makeshift structure. The party had earlier planned to shift the memorial near the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue. To avoid Coastal Regulation Zone restrictions, it was decided that they would place a plaque on the soil close to Shivaji’s statue. The BMC administration however, objected to this plan.

“Unless there is an official proposal, how can the BMC consider or permit the memorial to be shifted to another place?” said a senior BMC official on the condition of anonymity.

The Sena’s inability to find an alternate spot in Shivaji Park is surprising, as it has been almost a month since Thackeray passed away. The temporary structure where Thackeray was cremated last month has become a place of worship for Shiv Sainiks. Despite the civic body giving the Shiv Sena several opportunities to remove the structure on its own, the latter is yet to take action. 

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