January 23 has always been a special occasion for Shiv Sainiks, except this time there’s a lot of poignancy woven into the emotions as the moment approaches. Bal Thackeray the party patriarch who passed away on November 17 was born on this day in 1926. Two months after his demise, Sena’s insistence on a memorial for their departed leader at Shivaji Park has changed little on the ground.
While Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) with Sena-BJP at the helm has, naturally, been favourably inclined towards the idea, the Congress-NCP state government has displayed far less enthusiasm. Now, with the special day less than a week away, Shiv Sena councillors are hoping that at least a proposal on the cost and other fundamental aspects of the commemorative structure would be ready in time.
“Everyone wants work on the memorial to start soon, and I being a Shiv Sainik want this to happen now. But there are some legal issues that the corporation is trying to sort out and we need to be patient for this. We are attending joint meetings to ensure things move briskly and efficiently, but we will have to wait,” said Yashodhar Phanse, leader of the house in BMC. The administration, however, has not proceeded with any paperwork yet, as it doesn’t want any legal complications on the matter once consent is given.
The confusion over whether Shivaji Park is a recreation ground or a playground still remains. “The work is still in the pipeline and no decision has been taken yet. We are still looking into all aspects and only after this will we forward the assignment to the concerned department,” said Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner.
Sena corporators also want to avoid pitfalls at all cost and have been waiting for a considered nod from the administration, yet wanting the ball to start rolling before January 23. “We do want things to be fast-tracked, and if we do get this good news before Saheb’s birthday then nothing like it,” said Kishori Pednekar, a Sena leader in BMC.