Sena willing to shift Thackeray memorial ‘a little’, says Uddhav

Shivaji Park But structure will be removed by Sainiks, not govt, he insists

Climbing down from its firm stand, Shiv Sena said Thursday it was ready to shift the makeshift samadhi of party chief Bal Thackeray from the spot he was cremated at Shivaji Park.

Executive president Uddhav Thackeray, however, warned the state against trying to remove the structure and said the exercise would be carried out by Shiv Sainiks.

"Shiv Sainiks will shift the samadhi sthal a little," he said.

Shiv Sena, facing flak from political parties as well as citizen groups for blatant encroachment on a public ground, is keen to find an honorable way out of the controversy the memorial issue has stirred.

In an attempt to mollify supporters, Uddhav made it clear the party was only shifting the samadhi place and a small memorial would definitely come up at Shivaji Park.

"We will shift the samadhi sthal to make a permanent samadhi for Balasaheb Thackeray," he told Sena mouthpiece Saamana in an interview.

Uddhav had thus far refrained from making statements on the memorial, allowing second-rung party leadership to take the lead in raising the decibels.

However, insistence on a memorial at Shivaji Park and a demand to rename the ground turned public opinion against Sena. It is also facing flak from allies and fears a rap from the judiciary if the matter goes to court.

To keep the morale of party workers high, the party is, however, insisting on a smaller memorial, at least a plaque, at Shivaji Park.

"Even if location of the samadhi sthal changes a bit it will still remain at Shiv Tirth," Uddhav said.

Sena would build a small structure close the Shivaji statue on the periphery of the ground to mark the cremation, party MP Sanjay Raut said in New Delhi.

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