Shiv Sena pushes for Mayor bungalow as site for Bal Thackeray memorial

Mumbai: As the Shiv Sena gets ready to observe the death anniversary of its founder Bal Thackeray tomorrow, the party is reportedly pushing for the city Mayor's bungalow as the site for the late leader's grand memorial.

The sea-side bungalow is located across Shivaji Park in Dadar, where Thackeray established the Shiv Sena in 1966 and also addressed the annual Dussehra rallies.

A senior Sena leader, requesting anonymity, today said party Ministers in Maharashtra are likely to raise the memorial site issue with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow.

The Government has set up a committee, headed by Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya, to suggest sites for the grand memorial.

A Government official said the panel has submitted its report. "The final decision is to be taken by the Chief Minister who also holds Urban Development portfolio," he said.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Sena leader said the party is sticking to the choice of Mayor's residence and is averse to raising the memorial at Wadala (one of the suggested sites) as it is too far away from Shivaji Park and nearby Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters.

"The Sena has made elaborate arrangements to announce the selection of the memorial site once the Chief Minister approves the proposal" he added.

Thackeray, who died on November 17, 2012, was cremated at the Shivaji Park, the sprawling ground which currently houses a small memorial for him in a corner. The Sena-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has constructed a landscaped garden at the cremation site, where Shiv Sainiks visit regularly to pay their respect to the late leader.

"During his lifetime, Balasaheb had hosted several top political leaders and held important meetings at the Mayor's bungalow," he said.

The scenic bungalow offers an uninterrupted view of Dadar Chowpatty and has been the official residence of Mayor for more than four decades now.

A piece of land adjacent to the residence may have to be acquired for the memorial, the Sena leader said. "Both the adjacent land and Mayor's bungalow belong to the BMC and hence there will not be much of a problem."

Meanwhile, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, accompanied by historian Babasaheb Purandare, today visited Nashik to conceptualise and finalise a site for another memorial for his late uncle in the city, about 200 km from Mumbai.

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