War of words hots up over memorial for Balasaheb

The Shiv Sena has hardened its position on building a memorial for Bal Thackeray at Shivaji Park with senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi claiming the party will take the law in its hands to ensure the memorial comes up at the park.

"Many people are saying that legally we can't build a memorial at the park. If the law is against the memorial then we will take law in our hands but will ensure that the memorial comes up at Shivaji Park only," Joshi told reporters in Nashik.

Joshi was one of the first Sena leaders who had spoken about the need for Thackeray's memorial at Shivaji Park.

"When the party takes a decision...the Shiv Sena will ensure that the memorial comes up at the Shivaji Park," he said.

The Congress hit back at Joshi reminding him that he has held the post of the Lok Sabha Speaker and took potshots at him, saying he was trying to protect the Kohinoor mill land.

The NCP blamed him for politicising the issue of the memorial despite Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray stating it was not the right time to rake up the issue.

"Many people are making demand for Kohinoor mill land for the memorial. There is a feeling that Joshi is making statements about Shivaji Park to divert attention from the Kohinoor land. The Maharashtra Chief Minister has made the state government's stand clear about memorial at Shivaji Park. Perhaps even Balasaheb would not have liked to create a controversy about Shivaji Park, setting aside the sentiments of locals. Sena leaders seem to be politicising the issue," said Sachin Sawant, Congress spokesperson in a statement.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said: "Manohar Joshi has been the state's Chief Minister. He should know that you can't do anything by violating the law. He was the first one to demand the memorial be built at Shivaji Park and we feel that he is doing this to politicise the issue."

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