After the Congress made it clear that its corporators would not support the Shiv Sena on the issue of changing the name of Shivaji Park to Shiv Tirth, leaders of other opposition parties have also taken the same line.
The Maharashtra Navnir-man Sena (MNS), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Samajwadi Party have all opposed the renaming.
If after Bal Thackeray’s death there were rumours of the MNS and the Shiv Sena drawing closer to each other, the strong anti-renaming stand taken by the MNS has now put an end to all such speculation.
Despite the Shiv Sena putting forth the argument that Bal Thackeray always referred to Shivaji Park as Shiv Tirth in his speeches, the renaming proposal has cut no ice with the opposition. The idea has received a lot of resistance from almost all quarters.
Even Shiv Sena ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not come forward to show any kind of support for the renaming.
Shivaji Park has been a hot topic of discussion since the Shiv Sena chief’s funeral on the ground in Dadar last month — if initially it was a debate over creating a memorial to
the departed leader at the cremation spot, now it is the renaming demand.
Sena’s majority card
The Shiv Sena is firm on its stand, as it is sure that on the basis of the majority it enjoys in the civic house it will be able to rename the ground in spite of the opposition.
The party sees the change of name to Shiv Tirth as a prestige issue, as it was something even Bal Thackeray had wanted.
“In spite of the opposition, with the help of a majority vote we will pass the (renaming) proposal that the BMC has received in one of the coming General Body meetings,” Mayor Sunil Prabhu said.
MNS threatens stir
With the MNS also not willing to budge from its position, the issue now threatens to spill out of the BMC and on to the streets as the party has stated it will hold rallies and agitations to preserve Shivaji Park’s “proud identity”.
“We won’t let this (renaming) happen and will fight till the end on this matter, and if need be we will even get out on roads and hold morchas to stop this,” MNS group leader Dilip Lande said. “On May 8, 2008, the corporation had passed a resolution saying non-Indian names can be changed whereas Indian names cannot be changed. Isn’t Shivaji an Indian? Then why the renaming?”
Samajwadi Party group leader Rais Shaikh said the issue was needlessly being raked up when there were many more important matters to be discussed.
“This is not an issue of such great importance that it needs to be discussed and there are many more important things the corporation needs to decide on,” Shaikh said.
“We will do everything legally and we don’t support this proposal at all.”
BJP group leader Dilip Patel was non-committal on the issue. “We will discuss this issue with our senior leaders and then decide whether to support the renaming or not,” Patel said.