Demands to name Mumbai’s Eastern Freeway after Thackeray, Ambedkar

Mumbai, June 29 (IANS) Barely a fortnight after the Eastern Freeway was inaugurated, demands have been made to name it after late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and the “father” of the Indian constitution B. R. Ambedkar, here Saturday.

The demand for naming if after Thackeray has come from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), the arch rival of the Shiv Sena founded by Thackeray.

Former staunch Shiv Sainik and now MNS legislator Bala Nandgaonkar Saturday shot off a letter to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan demanding that the Eastern Freeway be named after the late Sena patriarch.

“Thackeray’s contribution in bringing the state together by way of infrastructure development is enormous. It was his dream which resulted in the Mumbai-Pune Expressway becoming a reality. People of the state want a memorial for him,” Nandgaonkar, MNS group leader and a former minister in the Shiv Sena-BJP government, said in his letter.

He pointed out that recently the first phase of the Eastern Freeway, linking south Mumbai with Chembur in the east, was thrown open for traffic and it would be appropriate to name it after Thackeray.

Hours later, Republican Party of India (RPI) president Ramdas Athawale demanded that the Eastern Freeway should be named after Ambedkar, the messiah of Dalits and the “father” of the constitution.

Earlier, the RPI had made demands to rename Dadar railway station as Chaityabhoomi in memory of Ambedkar, even as a memorial to him is slated to come up in the Indu Mills Complex in the vicinity.

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