Buckling under pressure from the government, the Shiv Sena today agreed to shift the temporary structure built in the memory of its departed leader Bal Thackeray to the margins of the Shivaji Park in Mumbai.
Their mouthpiece Saamna has claimed that the party has decided to shift the memorial to the margins of the Shivaji Park. The structure will now be moved 20 feet away from where it is currently and will be done by Shiv Sainiks themselves, CNN-IBN reported.
The channel reported that the party could even move the memorial out of the park later, given that they already have an alternate site earmaked for a new memorial in the Mayor's bungalow nearby, the channel reported.
The decision comes days after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) gave a notice to the Shiv Sena over the structure. Denying permission for the Bal Thackeray memorial at Shivaji grounds, the BMC had said that the permission to use the ground was given only for the cremation and that it should be restored to its original status as it is a reserved plot as per the city development plan.
The BMC had also said that the Sena workers will face legal consequences if the structure was not removed.
Ever since Thackeray's death, the Shiv Sena has been pressing for a memorial to the political leader to be built at Shivaji Park. Shiv Sainiks gathered in large number at the funeral site of Thackeray whenever reports of authorities planning to remove the structure emerged and they have been guarding the memorial.
The party also wanted to rename the Shivaji Park as Shiv Tirth'. However, a Sena leader claimed today that they never wanted the entire ground to be renamed and wanted a portion, where Bal Thackeray was cremated, to be called that. Corporator Rahul Shewale told DNA, "I demanded that only the edifice at the cremation site should be called ‘Shiv Tirth’, not the entire ground.”
The 86-year-old Sena chief was cremated on 18 November at Shivaji Park, the same ground where he had addressed his followers during Dussehra rallies for over 40 years and the party is keen to have Thackeray's memorial there.
Last week, Sena had equated the edifice where Balasaheb's last rites were conducted at Shivaji Park, 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," Sena MP Sanjay Raut had told reporters.