Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have again locked their horns -this time over naming an upcoming flyover in the eastern suburbs. BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is constructing a 2.1 kilometre flyover to ease traffic between the eastern suburbs and Navi Mumbai. The flyover is expected to be opened next August. In the meanwhile, a controversy has erupted over naming the flyover.
Back in December, local Shiv Sena corporators Vaishali Shewale and Samiksha Sakre had proposed that the flyover should be renamed after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Manoj Kotak, BJP member of the parliament (MP) from Mumbai North East constituency, had also written to the BMC administration, urging that the flyover should be named after Shivaji Maharaj. The proposal for naming the flyover was sent to the municipal commissioner's office, which was turned down during the work's committee meeting on Monday.
Following which, BJP members in the committee moved another sub-proposal during the meeting, which was then rejected by committee chairperson Swapnil Tembwalkar.
Meanwhile, in June, Rahul Shewale, Shiv Sena MP from the adjoining Mumbai South Central Constituency, had written to the municipal commissioner, suggesting that the flyover should be renamed after a Muslim Sufi Saint.
The BJP allegged that BMC and Shiv Sena are trying to delay the naming of the flyover as majority of the population living in the area where the flyover is being built are Muslims and the Shiv Sena MP is trying to appease his vote bank by naming the flyover after a Muslim religious leader.
"The area from which the flyover passes is called Shivaji Nagar. Now, the administration is delaying the process despite knowing that there is no icon bigger than Shivaji in Maharashtra," Bhalchandra Shirsat, senior BJP corporator and spokesperson of the party in BMC told the Free Press Journal on Tuesday.
The municipal commissioner, in his remarks, said that the construction work of the flyover is not yet complete and it's too early to fix its name now. "We have checked with the engineers of the bridges department and they have said that the flyover will be ready before August 15. There is just one month left for the deadline and BMC is saying that it's too early now," said Shirsat.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena has said that they are in favour of naming the flyover after Shivaji Maharaj, as they are the one who first proposed it and not BJP. According to the work's committee chairperson Swapnil Tembwalkar, the proposition of naming the flyover after Shivaji Maharaj was floated by local Shiv Sena corporator Vaishali Shewale on December 1, 2020.
"The administration had turned down the proposal on the basis of technicality, as the name of any road or flyover is fixed just before it is ready and here we don't know exactly when the flyover will be completed," Tembwalkar said.
Speaking on rejecting the BJP member's sub-proposal during Monday's meeting, Tembwalkar said that it didn't have any legitimacy as the main proposal was already turned down by the commissioner.
"The main point of the sub-proposal was to send the same proposal again to the commissioner and it was already rejected before," said Tembwalkar.