Aarey: AAP, Shiv Sena spar

Mumbai: With barely a month left for the upcoming assembly election, political parties are rapidly taking sides on the matter of the cutting of 2,000-plus trees in Aarey.

Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray has been at the forefront of the campaign against the felling of the trees. The Yuva Sena chief is the party’s proposed candidate for the chief minister’s post in the next government. Environmental conservation is close to Aaditya’s heart, but the young turk is being severely criticised by opposition parties.

The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) national spokesperson, Preeti Sharma Menon, slammed Aaditya, claiming his party’s stand against axing trees is hypocritical and a gimmick, to garner attention ahead of the election.

“Aaditya Thackeray says he stands for the protection of the Aarey, while the Sena-ruled BMC passed a circular favouring the cutting of trees and his father was present at the event, when PM Modi laid the foundation stone for the metro lines last week,” said Menon, dubbing Aaditya was becoming the next ‘Pappu’ of Maharashtra.

The AAP leader also pointed out that the environment ministry comes under the Shiv Sena, which could easily put its foot down on the ongoing construction, yet Aaditya continues to tweet.

In June, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the BMC and the forest department for the construction of a zoo. The official procedure took place in Aaditya’s presence. Highlighting the point, several environmentalists alleged Sena’s stand shows double standards.

Earlier, Menon took to twitter, saying, Aaditya is only being rhetoric on the social media while Mumbaikars have taken to street, following which she was at the receiving end, as Shiv Sena spokesperson, Manisha Kayande defended Aaditya, highlighting his leadership is known to the country and asking her to focus on the future of the party’s chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal instead.

“My comment on Aaditya may have hurt Sainiks, I promise to appologise to him only if he gets on the ground and bring the metro project to halt,” challenged Menon.

The BMC granted approval of cutting 2,185 trees and transplant 461 trees in the Aarey Colony. It has also mandated the MMRCL to plant 13,110 trees as compensatory plantation.

Earlier, CM Fadnavis also defied the project claiming the portion of Aarey where the carshed is about to set up is a land of grazing pasture, which belong to the state’s dairy department and will boost environment as the metro line will bring down pollution and carbon emission by significant margin.

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