BJP wants Thackeray statue at PMC headquarters

Even as the Shiv Sena in Mumbai has gone soft on its stand for a memorial dedicated to Bal Thackeray at the spot where he was cremated at Shivaji Park, ally BJP in Pune has submitted a proposal to erect a statue of the late Sena chief on the premises of the PMC headquarters.

In Pune, the Sena had earlier demanded a memorial anywhere in the city.

In their proposal, BJP corporators Dhananjay Jadhav and Smita Vaste said the late Sena leader had contributed a lot to growth and empowerment of "sons of the soil" in the state.

"The best way to pay respect to the Sena leader would be to erect his statue at the civic headquarters," Jadhav said.

Sena leader Ashok Harnaval said, "We had already demanded a memorial in any part of the city. The demand by BJP corporators is good and we would support them."

He said the late Sena chief was born in Pune and had a strong emotional connect with the city. "We are demanding a memorial in Pune keeping in mind sentiment of people," claimed Harnaval.

NCP leader and standing committee chairman Baburao Chandere said his party has not taken any stand on the proposal.

"We will discuss the issue with our state level leaders and only then take a decision. Everyone has a lot of respect for the late Sena leader," he added.

Chandere said the civic administration would be asked to give their opinion on the proposal to erect a statue of Thackeray at the PMC headquarters and their opinion would decide the fate of the move.

A senior Congress leader said they fail to understand the demand being made by Shiv Sena and BJP corporators in the city. "The Sena has never been known to emerge as the leading party in the PMC while it has been power in the BMC for long. Thus, erecting a statue of Bal Thackeray in PMC headquarters is unlikely to be supported by the ruling alliance," he said adding that the demand is going to create an unnecessary controversy.

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