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Uddhav joins Shivaji park debate, says controversy 'unnecessary'

Shiv Sena Working President Uddhav Thackeray has said that the controversy over a Bal Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park was "unnecessary". The comments came in the Sena's paper 'Saamna', marking the first interview he has given since Thackeray's death.

The Shiv Sena have been demanding that a memorial be erected at Shivaji Park, where the Shiv Sena patriarch was cremated last month.

“The place where Balasaheb’s last rites were conducted at the Shivaji Park is similar to Ayodhya. The sanctity of the place should be maintained. It is like a temple for us and we won’t remove the structure that has come up at the cremation site,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told media.

Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aditya at Matoshree: PTI

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi went one further saying, “We don’t care if any law is coming in the way to raise Balasaheb’s memorial at Shivaji Park".

The Maharashtra state government has not responded to the demand, although Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had said last week that the government would not do anything in violation of the law with regard to the Sena's demand. The demand has already been opposed by the Shivaji Park resident welfare association and even Raj Thackeray's MNS.

Uddhav Thackeray also told Saamna that no one would take Balasaheb's place in the party, and that he would remain the only Shiv Sena 'pramukh'.

Uddhav is now set to embark on a tour of Maharashtra to interact with party activists.

Thackeray's tour will start on 3 December in western Maharashtra's Kolhapur, where he will meet party workers and elected representatives from local bodies to the parliament.

Similar meetings for various regions will be held on 5 December in Nashik, 7 December in Ratnagiri, 14 December in Nagpur and 16 December in Aurangabad.

With inputs from agencies