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AT a time when the state government is celebrating completion of Chief Minister Anandiben Patel’s two years in office and also formation of NDA government at the Centre, Congress’ application to hold a public meeting on the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) office premises was rejected by the civic body citing there was no “precedent.”
Leader of Opposition in RMC, Vashram Sagathiya had filed an application on Thursday seeking permission to hold a Lok Darbar at RMC headquarters on May 30. The event, Congress leaders said, was meant to listen to complaints of people and was to be presided over by Leader of Opposition (LoP) in State Assembly, Shankersinh Vaghela.
However, the RMC trashed the application on Friday. Following this, Congress MLA from Rajkot (East) constituency, Indranil Rajyaguru and Sagathiya first made a representation to deputy municipal commissioner Chetan Nanadani. Not satisfied with his answer, Sagathiya also led a delegation of Congress corporators to the bungalow of mayor Jayman Upadhyay where municipal commissioner Vijay Nehra was attending an official lunch with visiting Roads and Buildings Minister Nitin Patel. But the commissioner said permission cannot be granted to hold such programmes on the office premises.
“They made an application saying they want to do this sabha and mandap within the corporation. Politely, we have refused saying that there is no provision for holding any such public meetings within Corporation premises. There is no provision, there is no precedent and it will cause inconvenience to the visitors coming to Corporation in terms of parking etc. We have suggested them two-three options… and I think they have understood that it’s not possible,” Nehra told The Indian Express.
However, Rajyaguru contended that LoP of the Assembly enjoyed privileges and protocols due to a cabinet minister. “If ministers can hold Lok Darbars within RMC office, so can LoP to listen to problems of people by virtue of him enjoying status of a cabinet minister. And this is not party function, this a programme to give voice to grievance of public. LoP has a constitutional right. If nobody has exercised it that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist,” said the MLA.
But Nehra said if Congress has any grievance, they may approach district collector. “Leader of Opposition in state Assembly certainly enjoys the rank of a minister but by no extension he is part of government as such. While protocol and courtesies are always to be extended, but according to us, it not a government programme. It it is a political programme,” said the commissioner.
After the rejection of Sagathiya’s application, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) secretary Mahesh Rajput filed a fresh application seeking permission to hold the meeting at RMC Chowk and it was granted by civic officers.
The Congress is holding the meeting when state and central governments, both led by BJP are publicly counting their achievement. Besides Vaghela, GPCC president Bharatsinh Solanki will also listen to complaints of the people at the meeting to be held on Monday.