Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday said the Shiv Sena controlled-Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) would have to consult the Maharashtra government before taking any decision on the issue of the city’s Mahalaxmi Racecourse.

The issue of the racecourse, whose lease expires tomorrow, has stirred up a political controversy, with the Opposition Sena vociferously opposing the idea for a lease extension, planning instead to convert the sprawling area into a garden and theme park for “public good.”

The Sena is supported by its political ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its demand for throwing open the area to the public and shifting the racecourse out of the Mumbai.

The racecourse spawns a massive area of 8.5 lakh sq. metres, of which six lakh sq. metres belong to the State government.

“Any decision on extending the lease must be taken in consultation with the Chief Minister,” said Mr. Pawar.