Maharashtra Cabinet Approves Rs 100 Crore For Balasaheb Thackeray Memorial; Alliance Set To Get A Boost

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Mumbai: In an apparent bid to check the growing bitterness among them despite being allies, BJP’s Maharashtra government on Tuesday approved Rs 100 crore for the construction of proposed Balasaheb Thackeray memorial in the city.

The decision to approve the funds was taken at the Cabinet meeting which was chaired by Chief Minister DevendraFadnavis. ShivSena, which was founded by Balasaheb Thackeray, is an ally of the BJP in Maharashtra and a part of the state government as well. However, the relations between the two parties remain sour.

Sharing details of the decision, Cabinet Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said: “Relations between BJP and Shiv Sena were always good and will remain so. There is a strong probability of forging an alliance as well.”
“Balasaheb Thackeray has always been a respectable and great leader. Hence the Cabinet has decided to construct a grand memorial in his memory, which will inspire the youths,” added Mungantiwar.

The memorial will be built in Dadar where the last rites of the iconic Shiv Sena leader and former Chief Minister of Maharashtra were performed. The site is in Shivaji Park area where Mumbai Mayor’s bungalow was located earlier.

The funds for the memorial will be provided by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
The Cabinet decision to fund the memorial comes days after a petition was filed in the Bombay High Court against the proposal for constructing Balasaheb Thackeray memorial at the Mayor’s bungalow, which is said to be a green zone.

The petition, filed by social worker Santosh Daundkar, seeks the cancellation of orders for the change of land use (CLU) of the said property. The proposed memorial is also said to be in the violation of coastal regulatory rules.

The petition “impugns the decision of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) to refuse to take cognizance of conspicuous violations of law particularly that of Environment Protection Act, 1986 and the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011, in the matter of change of use of the land earmarked for Mayor’s Bungalow and Recreation ground.”

Thackeray, who was an influential figure in Maharashtra politics, began his professional career as a cartoonist with the English language daily ‘The Free Press Journal’ in Mumbai, but left it in 1960 to launch his own political weekly ‘Marmik’.

His political philosophy was largely shaped by his father Keshav Sitaram Thackeray, a leading figure in the Samyukta Maharashtra (United Maharashtra) movement, which advocated the creation of a separate semantic state.

Through ‘Marmik’, Thackeray campaigned against the growing influence of non-Marathis in Mumbai. In 1966, Thackeray formed the Shiv Sena to fight for the interests of Maharashtrians in Mumbai’s political and professional landscape.

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