Just a few hours before the state election commission announced the dates for the upcoming BMC elections 2017, the civic body's improvement committee headed by Prakash Gangadhare of the BJP, cleared the proposal to convert the Mayor's bungalow into a memorial for late Shiv Sena Chief Balasaheb Thackeray.
Both the Shiv Sena and the BJP are now rushing to take credit for this project. However technically the project is yet to be passed at the house which will be possible only after the elections since the code of conduct has been imposed.
In a bid to seek Marathi votes, this proposal was passed in haste on Wednesday in an impromptu meeting at 11 am. Gangadhare said, "I am fortunate that such proposal was passed during my tenure. I have always admired the Sena founder since he has been an inspiration to thousands of pepole. The memorial will be a perfect tribute to him."
However, opposition parties allege that the memorial plan is just an eyewash for the voters. “The rush to clear the proposal for the memorial was made owing to the impending code of conduct for the BMC elections. The BJP-Sena has fooled the Marathi voters, as now the proposal is yet to be tabled at the general body meeting, which takes the final call on proposals, which will be held after the elections,” said Mohsin Haider, Congress corporator from Andheri.
Trushna Vishwasrao of the Shiv Sena said, “The current mayor will stay in the bungalow till her tenure gets over and the coming mayor will be shifted to a new location. The new location has not yet been confirmed but Jijamata Garden and the commissioner's bungalow are being looked at as options.”
“We have many plans for the place and Balasaheb Thackeray's memories will be placed in the memorial,” she added.
The memorial is a brainchild of the Maharashtra government which had appointed a committee called as Balasaheb Thackeray Rashtriya Smarak Nyas (BTRSN) and was headed by Maharashtra's Chief Secretary Swadhin Kshatriya. The site was decided after the committee visited a few sites but could not find an apt location. However, the civic body has allotted the land to the committee with some restrictions.