‘No need for memorial at Shivaji Park’

Toughening its stand on the Shiv Sena demand for a memorial dedicated to the late Sena chief Bal Thackeray at Shivaji Park, the Congress on Saturday said no memorial should be allowed alongside that of warrior king Shivaji at the park.

Congress state president Manikrao Thakre said, "Shivaji Maharaj is a god for lakhs in Maharashtra. There is a memorial for him at Shivaji Park and we feel no other memorial should come up alongside his."

The Congress is likely to make a representation to the chief minister asking him to not allow any other memorial at Shivaji Park.

The demand for a Bal Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park has become a contentious issue in the state with the Shiv Sena insisting it should be be built. Shivaji Park has a special place for the Sena not only because Thackeray was cremated there, but also because the public rally announcing the formation of the party had been held at Shivaji Park.

Every year, the Sena, which refers to the Shivaji Park as Shiv Teerth, hold its Dussehra rally there.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had earlier said the government had not yet received a proposal for the Thackeray memorial and even if it did, allowing a memorial would be against existing rules. Sena leaders have struck a militant posture on the issue with senior leader Manohar Joshi saying Sena activists would take the law into their hands to ensure a memorial for Thackeray is built at the park.

Sena MP Sanjay Raut had also said the government should not interfere in the memorial issue and leave it to the Sainiks on deciding where they want a memorial for their leader to be built.

Citizens groups and resident associations staying around the area are also opposed to the idea of a memorial at Shivaji Park.

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