January 24, 2021 12:58:15 am
CHIEF MINISTER Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday unveiled the statue of Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray on his 95th birth anniversary, with the opening line of his speeches, Jamlelya majhya tamam Hindu bandhavano, bhaginino ani matano (All my Hindu brothers, sisters and mothers gathered here) inscribed on its base.
Thackeray family members and senior leaders from all parties were present at the inauguration.
The statue, measuring nine feet, was unveiled at the busy roundabout between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya and National Gallery of Modern Art on MG Road. It is the first statue of the Sena founder in the city. Balasaheb died on November 17, 2012.
Uddhav called the unveiling a “memorable moment” of his life and stated he was happy that leaders from all parties had come together for the programme.
“This is a memorable moment in my life. Everyone knows that the Shiv Sena supremo was a great leader of our country and his thoughts will continue to guide us in future. Throughout his career, he had close ties with many political leaders. I am happy that senior leaders of all political parties came together, keeping aside political differences,” said Uddhav.
Artist Shashikant Wadke, architect Rohan Chavan, consultant Bhupal Ramnathkar, engineer Pradip Thackeray were also felicitated on the occasion.
The statue was installed despite opposition by Colaba residents citing a 2013 order of Supreme Court under which the state government should not allow any statue on public roads and pavements.
The inscription at the bottom served to underline the Sena’s Hindu credentials, which have been lately questioned by the BJP after its former ally entered into a coalition with with non-Hindutva parties the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress to form the government in 2019.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat of the Congress, MNS chief Raj Thackeray and Opposition leader Devendra Fadnavis, among others, attended the event.
Estranged cousins, Uddhav and Raj, appeared to interact cordially, engaged with each other in conversation on the stage.
NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar did not attend the event. State Environment and Tourism minister Aaditya Thackeray said he was in Pune for work.
Earlier in the day, Sena activists paid their respects to the party founder on the occasion of his 95th birth anniversary at his memorial in Shivaji Park, Dadar, and organised events such as blood donation camps at various places.
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