His party men demand memorial, his allies like BJP support it, now in future his activists will arrange agitations and again he will say; the people want it, we haven’t said it.
Poor horses! They must have never thought of the possibility of being asked to leave Mumbai and race outside the city.
For many years now, the rich, affluent and hence the beautiful mass of Mumbai and other parts of India have been visiting racecourse in Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi area. The money they spend (most lose the money, few win), the hats they wear and cars they drive is always the subject of extreme curiosity, with a tint of jealousy, for majority of Mumbaikars. I bet, none of the Mumbaikars thought, horse racing was a sport. It was always seen as a gamble and something which people ‘who have lots of money’ do.
The horses ran for their masters, the masters earned money and status and 0.001% of the population who went to see the race cheered and drank wine. It continued for years after years.
Just for records, I haven’t seen any Mumbaikar considering racecourse as the pride of Mumbai. Dhobi ghat, which stands adjacent to the racecourse, is undoubtedly more popular tourist attraction and of more importance, for Mumbaikars. For many of us, it is a piece of land, which exists for the rich; for their marriage ceremonies and for horse racing. That’s it!
So, when Shiv Sena, which is ruling the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) decided that it will oppose the extension of lease of the 225 acres of racecourse land, which is expiring on May 31, there was not much criticism from anywhere. Maybe the party, too, hadn’t expected that. So the next move was out very quickly.
The racecourse land should be converted in to a theme park and a memorial of Sena chief late Bal Thackeray. Now, we are talking.
After the death of Sena founder, there was a time in Mumbai when proposals of renaming places, buildings, and grounds after the leader’s name kept on coming. It was a situation as if; the entire Mumbai was to be renamed after the late leader. It didn’t happen, thankfully. Sena which was hoping to build a memorial on Shivaji Park, had to retreat due to stringent CRZ rules and opposition from locals. The party was not able to find the place ever since, which they found in racecourse.
Party has said that Mumbai is lacking of open spaces and gardens and racecourse land can be turned in to one. Oh yes, you have been ruling the city for almost two decades now. The unauthorized structures grew, open spaces shrunk, traffic worsened…and so on. It all happened when your party was in charge of the city. Why didn’t you bother to take some action then on builders and contractors?
Party also said the racecourse was never open to common public, though it is the condition put in the lease agreement. I am unable to understand this. Who had stopped Sena led civic body from taking actions, if they had known the violation of lease agreement?
And most importantly, Uddhav Thackeray said that he will welcome the idea of memorial if people are of the same opinion.
How ridiculous! His party men demand memorial, his allies like BJP support it, now in future his activists will arrange agitations and again he will say; the people want it, we haven’t said it.
I am not concerned about racecourse, honestly. The people, who attend it, except for few, can even fly down to some new place where the racecourse will be shifted, to watch horseracing. Yes, those who are dependent on racecourse as an employee, should be considered before taking any decision.
The decision on racecourse is pending and will be taken by month end. A simple question which comes in my mind, is, the land belongs to the government and we are talking of building a memorial of a person who was never the people’s elected representative neither he held any official post. The person has been named in the Shrikrishna commission report on Bombay riots. The person had openly supported the dictatorship of Hitler and denounced democracy. The person is accused of spreading hatred among communities. Is it fair for the government machinery to allow such memorial on 225 acres of state land?