Shiv Sena ministers raise T1's killing in Cabinet meeting

Updated: Nov 14, 2018, 09:47 IST | Dharmendra Jore

The ministers also demanded that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' pet infra project, Samruddhi Super Communication Highway between Mumbai and Nagpur, be named after Sena founder late Bal Thackeray

The Shiv Sena is leaving no stone unturned while creating trouble for the BJP government in Maharashtra, with whom it shares power. On Tuesday, Sena ministers questioned the forest department's inept handling of the killing of tigress T1 in the Cabinet meeting. The ministers also demanded that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis' pet infra project, Samruddhi Super Communication Highway between Mumbai and Nagpur, be named after Sena founder late Bal Thackeray.

Though forest minister and senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar denied being grilled in the Cabinet meeting, the Sena ministers said they raised the issue, citing the killing as unnecessary, and demanded that T1's cubs be located and rescued as early as possible.

Sena minister Ramdas Kadam told the media that he and his colleagues posed questions to the people concerned (he did not name Mungantiwar) in the Cabinet. He said after the Cabinet meeting that the killing of the tigress should be probed by a judicial panel. Kadam's party boss, Uddhav Thackeray, has also asked for a judicial probe, saying a panel that Mungantiwar appointed last week would do no justice, because the entire exercise was farcical.

He has said that the officials involved in decision making were not expected to hold an unbiased probe. Mungantiwar reiterated that he has already asked the CM for a judicial probe, and he would not hesitate if Thackeray himself heads one such probe panel to find procedural lapses in hunting the tigress by a private person.

Naming the highway
Even as it was said that the Rs 42,000-crore Samruddhi highway was likely to be named after BJP ideologue and former PM, the late A B Vajpayee, the Sena ministers have appealed to Fadnavis, to name the ambitious project after late Bal Thackeray.

A delegation led by PWD minister (corporation) Eknath Shinde handed the CM an appeal which says that the Sena founder was instrumental in getting the Mumbai-Pune expressway built through then PWD minister and BJP senior Nitin Gadkari. The appeal said that it would be appropriate if the state's second biggest road project, the Samruddhi highway, was named after the Sena icon.

The demand is expected to land the BJP in a catch-22 situation, because rejecting it would lead to accusations from the estranged ally, whom the ruling party needs desperately as a partner in the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

'Rename two more cities'
The Sena has also revived its decades old demand for renaming two cities, Osmanabad and Aurangabad, as Dharashiv and Sambhaji Nagar, respectively. The Sena leaders have not officially written to the government in this matter, but they have been vocal ever since the BJP leadership in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere in the country announced the renaming of cities, towns and roads.

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