Mumbai: Ganesha brought them together and he seems to be the bone of contention between the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the Shiv Sena. After uniting on the issue of Ganpati mandal permission for D-ward on August 6, the MNS and the Sena are at loggerheads again. The MNS put up posters bang opposite the Sena Bhavan proclaiming, “Do go to Ayodhya to build Ram Mandir… but before that, erect a Ganeshotsav mandap in Mumbai,” in an apparent dig at the Sena-ruled BMC for failing to tender permissions to Ganesh mandals to set up pandals for the festival. However, Mumbai Police removed them in the evening.
Sandeep Deshpande, spokesperson of MNS, said the Uddhav Thackeray-led party should first look at Mumbai rather than focusing elsewhere. “We are not planning an attack on any particular party. If someone is supposedly going to Ayodhya for a mission, he might as well work in his hometown for his citizens. And if they are running the BMC and cannot grant permission to the mandals, then what is the use of this power?” he asked.
Apparently, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is supposed to visit Ayodhya to discuss the Ram temple issue. On his birthday, he had expressed a desire to go to Varanasi and his party had put up posters saying ‘Chalo Varanasi, Chalo Ayodhya’. On an average, there are roughly 2,000 roadside Ganesh pandals, for which organisers obtain permission from the civic body, police, fire and traffic departments. In all, there are 10,800 mandals in the city. Ironically, this means only 20 per cent seek approvals to erect pandals.
A Sena spokesperson said it is easier said than done. “The (MNS) party is hankering for publicity with elections round the corner. This is certainly not an issue to be politicised. We are trying our best to ensure unhindered festivals,” the Sena functionary said.