The Shiv Sena has demanded that the state declare Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14 and Mahaparinirvan Diwas on December 6 as dry days. Besides, adding to to the growing rivalry between the allies, Sena leaders have cried foul over not being invited to a meeting by the BJP-led government Monday to discuss arrangements at Chaityabhoomi.
In a public statement, leader of the BMC House and Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav raised objections to the government’s decision to schedule the meeting on Monday, which marks the 90th anniversary of Mahad Satyagraha, an important day for Ambedkar followers.
On this day, Ambedkar had taken out a protest march to claim public water from a pond. “It is common knowledge that all the members of Ambedkar organisations visit Mahad on this day. What prompted the government, which has never taken any interest in organising events for Ambedkar Jayanti or Mahaparinirvan Diwas in the city, to hold the meeting regarding the arrangements on the same day?” said Jadhav.
Jadhav said that over the past decades, the Sena and the BMC had been organising events at Chaityabhoomi and it was unfair that neither members of the civic administration nor Sena leaders were invited to the meeting.
“The BMC makes all the arrangements every year and even has a budgetary allocation set aside for the Chaityabhoomi events. But even the mayor wasn’t invited for the meeting. Besides, the state has made no such allocation in its budget and yet has taken a sudden interest in it. As always, we will conduct the events and will make all the necessary arrangements,” he said.
Sena leaders including Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, standing committee chairperson Ramesh Korgaonkar and Jadhav said the party had demanded that both April 14 and December 6 be declared dry days.
“This is a demand that Ambedkarites have been making for a long time and this time, the Sena will make the demands. We also want that there should be a single window for the approvals from BMC, the RTO and the police needed for the rallies conducted on both the days. We will write to the chief minister about them,” said Jadhav.