Opposition slams Sena for e-way name request

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

Sena minister had asked the CM that the project be named after party founder Balasaheb Thackeray.

Nawab Malik

Mumbai: The Opposition has slammed Shiv Sena for demanding the naming of the Samruddhi Mahamarg after late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackery. It has asked the party to complete the project first and only then talk about naming it.

Maharashtra State Road Development Cor-poration (MSRDC) minister and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde had demanded that the proposed expressway between Mumbai and Nagpur be named after Thackeray in a letter to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday.

Interestingly, his party’s chief Uddhav Thackeray had opposed the project a year ago. Citing the U-turn, the Opposition has slammed Shiv Sena.

“The project is still on paper, the land acquisition is not even complete and the loan for the project is yet to come. In such a case, this demand of naming it after Mr Thackeray is just silly. The Shiv Sena should focus on the work rather than getting into non-issues,” said Nationalist Congress Party  (NCP) spokesperson Nawab Malik.

Congress’s spokesperson Sachin Sawant slammed the Shiv Sena’s “hypocrisy”. “You opposed the project, which is actually driven by your minister’s department. Then you ask for it to be named after your founder. This is called opportunism. People have realised this is the face of the Sena now,” said Mr Sawant.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Ashok Dhavale said the minister was trying to mislead the state. “The land acquisition for this project is incomplete. There are serious objections to it. Our party is fighting against it. In such a case, when nothing is there to show on the ground, raking up a naming controversy is misleading. The people may feel that the project is about to be completed,” said Mr Dhavale.

Meanwhile, Mr Fadnavis said that the decision on naming the expressway is yet to be taken. “There are demands to name it after Balasaheb as well as Atal Bihari Vajpeyiji also. We haven’t take a decision. We will make it at the appropriate time,” said Mr Fadnavis.

Mr Shinde had mentioned in the letter that naming the project after Thackeray was desired by Sena workers.

“The first expressway of India, Mumbai-Pune, was an outcome of Balasaheb's imagination and developmental orientation. Similarly, the proposed expressway would change the economy of Maharashtra for betterment. As Balasa-heb had this great vision of connecting cities, we wish that the coming expressway be named after him,” he wrote.