Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar take potshots at each other over racecourse

Jun 07, 2013, 20:53 IST | IANS

A slanging match erupted Friday between Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray over the status of the Mahalaxmi Race Course in south Mumbai.

The NCP supremo, while speaking to mediapersons this afternoon, said that whenever Thackeray travels abroad, he comes up with new ideas on various topics.

He was referring to Thackeray's demand to convert the sprawling Mahalaxmi Race Court grounds into a world-class public garden and shifting the existing race course to another location.

Pawar said that huge grounds like the race course and Shivaji Park should be kept open for the benefit of the people.

Sharad Pawar
Sharad Pawar

NCP president said he supported the need for open spaces in Mumbai as they are the "lungs" of the city. "I am in favour of open spaces as they are lungs of the city. A new garden is a good idea. But, there are already 263 gardens which are not in a good state. I am told, the Jijamata Udyan which also houses the Byculla zoo is in a bad shape. The civic body can work to upgrade the existing infrastructure first," Pawar told reporters here.

Reacting sharply to this from the US where he is currently on a visit, Thackeray said that he gets ideas when he is abroad.

"But we can never imagine urinating in parched dams and ridiculing people in drought-hit areas," Thackeray hit back, referring to Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's comments a few months ago.

Attacking the NCP chief, Thackeray added: "Seeing the gambling at the race course, Sharad Pawar hit upon the IPL. We believed he respected the Chhatrapati Shivaji's horse, but we are sad to learn that he took more pride in the horses on the race course."

Uddhav Thackeray
Uddhav Thackeray

After seeing the horse-trading at the race-course for so many years, now Pawar wants the venue to be kept open for the public. "We never got ideas to construct a 'Lavasa' on farmers' lands," Thackeray added sarcastically.

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