Lata Mangeshkar Memorial: Don’t Sacrifice Shivaji Park for Party Politics, Says MNS

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) spokesman Sandeep Deshpande said on Tuesday that Shivaji Historical Park should not be held hostage by ugly party politics. His statement comes after BJP and Congress leaders demanded a memorial for legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar at Shivaji Park.

Taking to Twitter, the MNS Secretary wrote, “The people of Dadar have been fighting for a long time to protect Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Park from encroachment. They want the park to remain an open playground. It is my ardent plea that Shivaji Park not be sacrificed for petty party politics.

The president of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA), Prakash Ambedkar, has also sought to “maintain the identity” of the park. “Do not turn Shivaji Park into a cremation ground. Let Shivaji Park retain its distinct identity and remain open ground,” he said.

On Monday, BJP MP Ram Kadam wrote to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asking for a memorial for the late singer at Shivaji Park. “On behalf of music lovers and fans, I ask you to consider erecting a memorial for Lata Mangeshkar at Shivaji Park at the same place where she was cremated“, says his letter.

The ruling Shiv Sena was cautious in its response, however. Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray said: “Any decision on a memorial will have to be considered after consultation with the Mangeshkar family. And, more importantly, it should be done in a way to match his tall stature in order to do justice to Lata Mangeshkar.

The Sena has an emotional connection to the park as it is where late party leader Bal Thackeray held the Sena’s annual Dussehra gathering. A tradition later continued by party chairman and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Ambedkar believes that the BJP raised the demand for a memorial to score against rival Shiv Sena and want to exploit the latter’s dilemma to their advantage.

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