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Mumbai, a day after Thackeray

Plans proposed to set up late Sena chief’s memorial at Shivaji Park

Gulf News

Mumbai: A day after Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray was cremated with state honours, senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi rooted for the setting up of their departed leader’s memorial at Shivaji Park in north-central Mumbai, where the late Thackeray’s mortal remains were consigned to flames.

Talking to media persons at Shivaji Park where he had accompanied Sena’s executive president to collect the urn containing the ashes of the late Thackeray, Joshi said: “We want that a memorial be built in the name of our departed leader Bal Thackeray at Shivaji Park where the Sena was born [in 1966], grew up and flourished. We will make a request to this effect to the Maharashtra government in this connection.”

Replying to a question, Joshi expressed confidence that the Maharashtra government would not reject the Sena’s demand for setting up the late Sena chief’s memorial at Shivaji Park, where Thackeray had address his maiden Dussera rally 46 years ago. Thackeray had since addressed Dussera rallies at this venue every year, except for 2005 when the Sena was forced to cancel the rally owing to heavy rain and he could not attend the latest rally on October 24, 2012 because of his illness. However, the video of the Sena chief was played at this rally.

Hours later, Maharashtra Minister of State for Urban Development Bhaskar Jadhav of the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said that the state government would not be averse to permitting the Shiv Sena to set up a memorial for their leader at Shivaji Park.

”It is natural for the Shiv Sena to demand that a monument be erected at Shivaji Park in memory of the Sena chief. Like the manner with which our government permitted the Shiv Sena to hold Thackeray’s funeral at Shivaji Park yesterday, I am confident that the state government will take a positive stand on the issue of the setting up of a memorial for the late Sena chief,” Jadhav said.

“But it is necessary for the Shiv Sena or the Thackeray family members to make a formal request to the state government in this regard. Once such a request is made, I will personally take up the issue with the government and take the matter forward,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, Mumbai limped back to normalcy after the 36 hours of spontaneous closure that followed the death of 86-year-old Thackeray, who passed away on Saturday followingcardio-respiratory arrest.

While autorickshaws, taxis and buses were back on the road, shops, hotels and all business establishments remained open. The government and private offices functioned normally.

The normalcy in the situation was despite a bandh call given by some business associations over Thackeray’s death. The Shiv Sena refused to heed the bandh call, saying that it would not like to inconvenience the people of Mumbai who had turned out in hundreds of thousands for the funeral Thackeray on Sunday evening.

However, following a call given by their association, jewellers based at Zaveri Bazar locality in south Mumbai downed shutters for the day.