LESS THAN a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to mention the Shiv Sena or Bal Thackeray during his speech in Mumbai to flag off construction of a grand memorial to Chhatrapati Shivaji, there was an apparent bid to mollify the party.
It was announced Thursday that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would share the stage with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray at a function Monday to put up a portrait of Prabodhankar Thackeray in the central hall of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. Prabodhankar Thackeray, a renowned social activist, was the father of late Bal Thackeray and the grandfather of Uddhav Thackeray.
Watch What Else Is Making News:
On Thursday, at an urgently convened meeting of the BMC’s general body, a decision was passed to place his portrait in the hall. According to sources, the civic administration moved the proposal late Wednesday night. Thursday’s hurriedly called meeting, which was over in about 20 minutes, was attended by close to 60 corporators, mostly from the Shiv Sena.
The Sena, upset with the BJP’s hijacking of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Memorial bhoomipujan event, has also been at loggerheads with its alliance partner over the latter’s repeated allegations of corruption in the BMC.
As per the civic administration’s proposal, the corporation hall has around 13 statues and busts of several leaders installed in small areas. Though the original proposal was to install a bust of Prabodhankar Thackeray, it has now been decided to wait till the extension of the hall is carried out to install the bust.
“So, it has now been proposed to put up the photo frame at the earliest,” said an official. Yashodhar Phanse, senior Sena corporator confirmed the proposal had been passed and the event would be held on Monday, January 2. Another official said estimated quotations were sought from four artists to paint a portrait of the leader.
“Since we have got a picture from the top Sena leadership, we will use it in a heritage photo frame,” explained the official.
The corporation hall had 11 such photo frames. In a fire that broke out in the hall in 2000, nine frames were completely gutted. The remaining two were re-installed after restoration of the hall was carried out later on.
The civic body’s headquarters that houses the hall is a Victorian-style heritage building. The corporation hall, which has a wooden gallery for the people and a stone gallery for the VIP guests, has a capacity to seat 247 people. While there are 232 corporators, the remaining 15 seats are used by the officials and the media.
Civic officials are running against time to complete the work by Sunday. “Walls have to be painted. Besides, we need small alterations to put up the frame. We are also in a dilemma about organising the event as the hall is small and it is impossible to make arrangements for all the dignitaries on the stage,” said an official.