Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the process of handing over land at the mayor's bungalow in the Shivaji Park area of Mumbai's Dadar suburb is in the last stage. He said that the state government will do "all that it takes to construct a befitting memorial for late Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray". The announcement for this national memorial comes on the Sena patriarch's fifth death anniversary on Friday.
The offer for the site on the banks of the Arabian Sea can be seen as a possible thaw in strained ties between BJP and Shiv Sena, reports PTI. The report added that Fadnavis, who holds the urban development portfolio and current Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray met for the first time in public since the allies faced off in a bitter battle for a civic election in the Mumbai suburb of Kalyan-Dombivali.
"I bow humbly before our guiding force, Balasaheb Thackeray. The work on handing over the property for the memorial is in its final stage. We are making efforts to clear it on priority," Fadnavis said at the event, sharing the dais with his ally.
During the event, Uddhav took the opportunity to announce a donation of Rs 2 crore to the Chief Minister's Farmers Relief Fund for Farmers' Welfare, which he handed over to to the Maharashtra chief minister.
"Balasaheb was the man responsible for making the alliance of BJP and Shiv Sena. He had been a guiding light for all of us who helped make Maharashtra that is respected everywhere. A memorial befitting his status will be set up at the mayor's bungalow and the entire cost will be borne by the government," Fadnavis added at the joint press meet with Uddhav.
The amount was collected through a donation of one month's salary of all elected leaders of Shiv Sena, starting from the Gram Panchayat to MLAs and MPs, besides the biggest chunk of Rs 1 million from Thackeray himself, reports IANS.
The prime sea-facing property, measuring around 11,500 sq mt, was handed over to the 'Balasaheb Thackeray Rashtriya Smarak Nyas' (BTRSN) in February, paving the way for the memorial. The BTRSN is now headed by Uddhav and the memorial site, which includes the sprawling bungalow constructed in the late 1920s, has been the mumbai mayor's official residence since 1964.
Earlier on Friday, the entire Thackeray clan including Uddhav, his wife Rashmi, their son and Yuva Sena chief Aditya, besides other family members accompanied by top Shiv Sena leaders, including former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi and others, paid homage to the late Thackeray at the proposed memorial site. Later, Fadnavis, accompanied by several Cabinet ministers and other party leaders, arrived and paid floral tributes to Thackeray before dedicating the memorial site.
Shiv Sena activists across Maharashtra visited the memorial site on Friday and offered tributes in memory of Bal Thackeray, who passed away on 17 November in 2012, aged 86.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Nov 17, 2017 16:15:59 IST