‘Not right time to discuss memorial’

Breaking his silence on the issue of building a Bal Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park, Uddhav Thackeray, son of the late Shiv Sena chief said on Tuesday that the memorial would certainly be built but this was not the right time to talk about it.

"The decision will be taken by lakhs of dedicated Shiv Sainiks. I will not stand between the Shiv Sena chief and lakhs of Sainiks," Uddhav, the Sena executive president, said in a statement. He warned those protesting not to test the patience of the Thackeray clan as well as the Sainiks, adding, this was not the time to create a controversy over the memorial.

"It is not the time to rake up a controversy over the memorial. The Thackeray family is in grief and has not recovered from shock," he said. He further asked people to help the family and Shiv Sainiks to ensure calm.

"Amhala sayyam rakhnyas madad kara (Help us in maintaining the calm)," he said.

Meanwhile, several Shiv Sena leaders are insisting on the memorial at Shivaji Park. Citizen groups and association of residents staying around the park are, however, opposed to construction of a memorial, as Shivaji Park is one of the few strips of open land remaining in the city.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said, "No NGO or association has opposed the memorial. Those who have, seem to have no other work. The memorial will come up at Shivaji Park."

The park, spread over 27.9 acres, represents the few open spaces in space-starved Mumbai. The entire area was designated a park by the Bombay Municipal Corporation in 1925 and has since played an important role in the history of Mumbai.

For the Sena, the park which its refers to as Shiv Teerth, holds special meaning as the first rally announcing the formation of the party was held there.

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