No Lata memorial at Shivaji Park Congress backs Mangeshkar family

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Mumbai, Feb 12

 A day after music director Hridaynath Mangeshkar said that he was against constructing a memorial for his sister, the late Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar at Shivaji Park, the Maharashtra Congress came out in support of the family, here on Saturday.

Simultaneously, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activist has moved the Bombay High Court in a PIL challenging the use of the 28-acre ground – known as the 'Cradle of Indian Cricket' for public funerals or memorials.

State Congress General Secretary Sachin Sawant said that the sprawling park was established during the British Rule by the erstwhile Bombay Municipal Corporation in 1925 and named as 'Shivaji Park' ahead of the great Maratha warrior's 300th birth anniversary.

"Taking into consideration the sentiments of the Marathi people, the then British Government had allowed the name and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's equestrian statue was also installed there," Sawant said.

He pointed out that since the park is already a monument dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, then how can another memorial in the name of Lata Didi be erected there.

"On one hand, the BJP is playing dirty politics in the name of a memorial for Lata Mangeshkara on the other, their own party activist is filing a PIL in the court demanding there should not be a memorial there. The BJP had resorted to similar dual-politics during the issue of reservations for Marathas and OBCs," Sawant said.

On Friday, Hridaynath Mangeshkar made it clear the family was not supportive of the memorial at Shivaji Park, while Dadar resident Prakash Belwade-Patil moved the court saying the ground is for sports, a memorial for the late Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray was built there and now there is a demand for even for one dedicated to Lata Mangeshkar.

Considering their stature, both Balasaheb Thackeray and Lata Mangeshkar were accorded rare public funerals at Shivaji Park on November 18, 2012, and February 6, 2022, respectively, to accommodate the massive crowds of mourners and VVIPs attending.

Earlier, BJP MLA Ram Kadam and others like Congress President Nana Patole had demanded a memorial for Lata Mangeshkar at the site, but the ruling ally Shiv Sena urged that the issue should not be politicised but assured a grand memorial for the late melody queen.


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