Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNA) chief Raj Thackeray on Monday said the under-construction Navi Mumbai international airport, which is an extension of the existing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai, should have the same name.
“After completion of the new project, the Navi Mumbai airport will act as an extension of already existing Mumbai International Airport. Where does the issue of changing name come up? It will remain as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Navi Mumbai International airport,” said Mr Raj Thackeray, adding to the on-going row over the issue.
The row over naming the new airport began last month after a group of locals, backed by the opposition BJP, launched an agitation demanding that it be named after late D.B. Patil, veteran leader of project affected people from the Navi Mumbai area. Patil is also considered one of the tallest leaders of local Agri and Koli (OBC) communities, who command considerable political clout.
The ruling Shiv Sena, however, has been pushing to name the new airport after party founder, late Balasaheb Thackeray. The tussle between the BJP and Sena has sharpened as the Navi Mumbai municipal corporation is set to hold civic polls and local BJP MLA Ganesh Naik, who controls the civic body at present, is trying to use the controversy to garner support.
On Sunday, a meeting of a committee, formed to push Patil’s name, with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray failed to make headway after the CM allegedly refuse to entertain the demand.
Adding to the row, the MNS chief said, “Maharashtra is known after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. When his name is proposed, then no other name should even be considered. Had Balasaheb Thackeray been alive, he too would have supported Maharaj’s name.”
The MNS chief added that his party’s lone MLA Raju Patil, who had supported Patil’s name for the airport, too has decided to back Shivaji Maharaj’s name.