After nearly a three-week-long standoff with municipal authorities, Shiv Sena today dismantled the makeshift memorial to Bal Thackeray at Shivaji Park in a post-midnight operation, avoiding a confrontation with the government.
Scores of Shiv Sainiks led by Mayor Sunil Prabhu and party leader in the Legislative Assembly Subhash Desai converged at Shivaji Park to supervise the exercise that got underway around midnight.
The structure was surrounded with huge curtains to keep media and curious onlookers at bay all through the operation as the platform, where the Shiv Sena patriarch was cremated on November 18, was pulled down.
Although the process which went on till after 3 AM, was largely peaceful, police foiled a bid by zealous Shiv Sainiks to erect another memorial adjacent to Chhatrapati Shivaji's statue at the park.
Meanwhile, Sena sources said the party, which along with BJP, controls Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, is likely to press for an alternate site for a memorial to Thackeray in the civic body meeting.
Senior Sena leader Ramdas Kadam, who paid homage at the site yesterday had said, "Uddhav Thackeray will keep his words given to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan (on removal of the makeshift memorial)."
Days after Shiv Sena chief was cremated in a rare public funeral at Shivaji Park, where the firebrand leader had held his annual Dussehra rallies for over four decades, calls had grown for erecting a memorial to him on the spot where his last rites were performed.