Reacting to the talk of the town that he had threatened Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Shrikar Pardeshi with transfer if he did not stop his drive against illegal construction,Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar whose writ runs in PCMC,on Wednesday clarified,I have always stood by good officers and will continue to do so.
Sounding upset over his name being dragged into another controversy,Ajit Pawar told Newsline,I am tired of giving denials about false things being spread about me,and people quoting me on things I have not said.
Stating that he has always stood by good officers,Pawar scotched rumours that he had asked the PCMC chief to stop the drive against illegal construction. The likes of Dilip Band who once headed PCMC also carried out drives against illegal construction. There was severe opposition to Bands actions. His transfer was sought several times. But I stood by him,and the development of Pimpri Chinchwad is there for everybody to see, he said.
The Deputy CMs reaction would quell widespread rumours that after a clamour by corporators and MLAs for Pardeshis transfer,Ajit Pawar wanted him out and that the civic chief would certainly go now.
After a meeting that Ajit Pawar had with NCP leaders and the PCMC chief at the Circuit House over the weekend,rumours were rife that Ajit Pawar had told Pardeshi to stop the drive against illegal construction or else he would transfer him. This was supposed to have come after Ajit Pawar fumed at Pardeshi when some NCP leaders pointed out to him that Pardeshi was hammering down constructions of even top party leaders which has embarrassed them in the eyes of the people. The NCP leaders reportedly told Pawar that there was widespread anger among citizens and if the Pardeshi administration continues the drive,the party would fare badly in the assembly and parliamentary elections. The NCP leaders had rushed to Ajit Pawar especially to complain about the notice issued by the civic administration to demolish an illegal construction belonging to a top NCP leader which had collapsed injuring six persons. After receiving the notice,the said leader had moved the High Court to save his structure,but failed to get any reprieve.
When contacted for his version,Pardeshi refused to confirm or deny whether Ajit Pawar had reprimanded him or asked him to stop the drive. But he did not deny meeting Pawar last week. He,however,said he had told him that the drive launched by the PCMC was as per a High Court order and a new law regarding illegal construction.
Pardeshi also said that speculation that he has sought transfer from PCMC was not true. He said,I have not sought my transfer. Why should I? He said he was ready to move out if the Chief Minister directs him to do so.
Yogesh Behl,president of the Pimpri Chinchwad unit of the NCP and considered the righthand man of the Deputy Chief Minister,said,I dont think Ajit Pawar told Pardeshi that he would transfer him.
Just over a month after joining PCMC last year,Pardeshi had launched the drive against illegal construction across Pimpri-Chinchwad. During the 11 months of his tenure,his administration has demolished 225 structures,including those belonging to many high and mighty across party lines. His administration lodged FIRs against over 800 citizens for setting up illegal construction. Three NCP MLAs and corporators across parties had launched protests against the drive,but Pardeshi had not budged from his drive.