The spat between the BJP and the NCP in Pune worsened ahead of the civic polls in the city, as senior BJP leader and guardian minister Girish Bapat urged the State Urban Development Department to direct the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to take him and local legislators into confidence before organising a function to inaugurate civic projects.
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Pune Mayor and NCP leader Prashant Jagtap, on the other hand, accused the BJP of “misusing” its power against his party.
In a communication to the urban development department, Bapat said as per the protocol guidelines of the state government, the guardian minister and local legislators have to be taken into confidence while organising such functions.
“The PMC was not following protocol and not taking the minister and local legislators into confidence while organising civic functions on the inauguration of civic projects. This is being deliberately done to garner publicity for the ruling party in PMC,” he said.
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The guardian minister said the state government should direct the municipal corporation to strictly abide by the protocol guidelines and seek his opinion, as well as that of local legislators, before organising such civic functions. Bapat, as well as the eight legislators and the MP from the city are members of the BJP, which rules the state government.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has sought a clarification from the PMC on the complaint filed by guardian minister and asked it to submit a report within a day.
Responding to the complaint, a municipal official said, “The municipal corporation has never violated protocol. The guardian minister and local legislators are always invited for such functions. In fact, the PMC makes it a point to invite all legislators and the MP, along with ministers from the city”.
The PMC is going to submit its clarification on Friday, said the official, adding that the civic administration is also going to submit all the requisite documents as proof. However, Mayor Prashant Jagtap said the BJP leadership in Pune was creating an “unnecessary issue” and “trying to interfere” in the operations of the civic body.
“The demand of the guardian minister is wrong and it will lead to misuse of power by the BJP. The state government should think before taking a decision on this demand as it might be challenged,” he added.
The mayor claimed that the BJP was also “misusing its power” in the state to pressure the civic administration, so that it doesn’t follow the instructions of the ruling NCP in the municipal corporation.
The BJP and NCP have been at loggerheads to establish their supremacy in local politics. The ruling NCP is likely to face a tough fight in the civic polls, scheduled to be held next year, to retain power in the PMC.
The BJP, which won the Lok Sabha seat as well as eight assembly seats from the city in 2014, has set its sights on the PMC next.