The Mumbai civic body’s proposal to shift the city’s Mahalaxmi racecourse to an abandoned landfill in Mulund has opened up a new front between the Eknath Shinde-BJP government and the Shiv Sena faction led by Uddhav Thackeray. The lease for the race-course having expired for a decade, the Mumbai civic body has revived its plan to build an amusement park. But after Aaditya Thackeray’s allegation that the state government is trying to “sell the racecourse to commercial interests” and “destroy open spaces”, the government said no decision has been taken on the matter yet.
Cabinet Minister and Mumbai’s Guardian Minister Deepak Kesarkar today admitted that while there was an original plan to accommodate the racecourse elsewhere, “no such decision has been taken yet”.
“There should be open space. Mumbai is short of open spaces. This could be a recreational area for common people. This is one option where open space remains like that and it remains for the common man. But this should not happen at the cost of the game that is racing,” he said.
Then in a roundabout attack on Aaditya Thackeray, he added, “A few young immature people are playing politics on this issue ahead of the upcoming BMC (Brihanmumbai Corporation) elections. They are unnecessarily raising this issue as they don’t have anything”.
“Now we read that khoke sarkar wants to build a theme park. It’s unfortunate that they want to destroy Mumbai’s open spaces. Just like they want to sell Worli Dairy to builders, they want to sell racecourse to commercial interests who want to monetise our city,” Mr Thackeray, who handled the environment portfolio in the Uddhav Thackeray government, tweeted.
Khoke sarkar must be opposed in selling Worli Dairy to builders and racecourse land to commercial interests for Khokes.
This khoke sarkar works for builders and commercial interests, not Mumbaikars.
They love to sell every square foot of our city, we will fight for every inch.
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) January 9, 2023
“We Mumbaikars want an urban green park for everyone, not a concrete commercial jungle from Khoke Sarkar’s pro builder policies. We also hear that commercial interests are involved in Mulund’s proposed racecourse at tax payer’s expense,” read another of a series of tweets.