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Poster war for credit

BJP and Shiv Sena involved in a tug of war to take credit by erecting hoardings of Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial bhoomi pujan ceremony.

With an eye on the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election the BJP and Shiv Sena are trying to outdo each other by erecting posters of Chhatrapati Shivaji statue’s bhoomi pujan ceremony to be held on Saturday. On one hand, BJP has tried to hijack Sena’s political agenda of wooing Marathas by organising the foundation stone laying ceremony of Shivaji memorial on the other hand the latter has installed posters in Dadar mentioning that even late Balasaheb Thackeray had supported the construction of Shivaji memorial. Thus both the parties are involved in a tug of war to take credit by erecting hoardings of the Maratha warrior at various places in the city.

BJP is keen to wrest the control of BMC from Sena which is currently ruling the civic body. The saffron party had successfully used Chhatrapati Shivaji for electoral gains during the 2014 state assembly polls. BJP also has indicated that it has already fulfilled one of the poll promises made by it prior to assembly election. On the other hand, Sena is keen to retain the control of the BMC at any cost and doesn’t want BJP to play the role of big brother. Sena has often expressed its displeasure over the functioning of the BJP government through its mouth piece Saamna.

“The state government has already incurred Rs 18 crore for publicising this ceremony. They have already released advertisements in print, TV, social media and outdoor media,” said said a senior government official on condition of anonymity.

Earlier Shiv Sena President had said that he will attend the ceremony only if a formal invitation is sent to him. Subsequently, BJP leaders Chandrakant Patil and Vinod Tawde had gone to Matoshree to invite Uddhav for the function.

“We will take steps to construct the Shivaji memorial and fulfil people’s aspirations. The erstwhile government had only made announcement about this memorial but failed to fulfil it. The first phase of the project will be completed by 2019 and we have received permissions for going ahead with the construction of the project,” said Vinod Tawde Education and Cultural Affairs minister.

“Security has been tightened on the Prime Minister’s route with the help of navy and other agencies. People who would be present at the BKC can watch the ceremony live. A film on Shivaji will be screened and Prime Minister will address a rally,” said Ashish Shelar, Mumbai BJP president.

MRCC President Sanjay Nirupam said, “The BJP government is organising Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial’s foundation stone laying ceremony with an eye on the BMC election. The party should stop deriving political mileage out of this issue. They indulge in such cheap gimmicks before election but fail to deliver the promises made by them. The party had also promised to erect a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel ahead of the 2012 Gujarat assembly polls but work is yet to start.”

Earlier both Sena and BJP tried to take credit for the construction of the new suburban station Ram Mandir. Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar has charged the BJP with taking credit for Sena’s efforts.

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