Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra industries minister Subhash Desai has kicked off a row by equating Bal Thackeray with Mahatma Gandhi over the construction of a memorial for the late party supremo. 

A memorial for Thackeray, who died in November 2012, is proposed at the current residence of the Mumbai mayor at Shivaji Park in Dadar. The new residence of the mayor will come up near the Byculla zoo. 

"A memorial was built for Mahatma Gandhi though he did not hold any constitutional post, then why not for Balasaheb?" Desai questioned, while speaking to reporters in Mumbai on Tuesday. 

Addressing the difference of opinions surrounding the issue, the Sena leader said some groups would raise an objection whenever the issue of constructing a memorial for any great leader came up. 

"In our democracy we all have rights. Balasaheb was a great leader and Shiv Sainiks, along with general public, have a desire that a memorial be built in Balasaheb's honour. The government has decided to do it and there is nothing wrong in it," he pointed out. 

Desai, however, said the personality of the Sena founder cannot be measured on the basis of certain parameters. 

"It is being asked whether he (Balasaheb) held any post. To this, I will say did Mahatma Gandhi hold any post? Though (Mahatma Gandhi) did not hold any administrative post, yet his memorials were built by various governments. Never heard anyone raising objections (to Gandhi memorials) and no one should raise objections. It is not proper," he stressed. 

Desai said the state government will respond to the objections raised in some quarters in connection with the construction of Thackeray's proposed memorial. 

(with PTI inputs)