A day before the official foundation stone laying ceremony of Pune Metro rail project by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the city unit of the Congress on Friday organised a function at Swargate, where former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan laid the foundation stone of the metro rail.
At the event, Congress leaders claimed credit for the project and accused the BJP of playing regional politics by starting Nagpur’s Metro rail project before Pune.
Meanwhile, the BJP has put up hoardings across the city, as well as issued government advertisements in the electronic and print media, about the Metro rail project.
The ruling NCP in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and neighbouring Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) had initially demanded that party chief Sharad Pawar lay the foundation stone of the project.
PMC Mayor Prashant Jagtap, with the Congress’ support, had managed to get a resolution passed in the civic body about organising a function in which the NCP chief would lay the foundation stone, a day ahead of the BJP-led state government function.
To resolve the issue, the government then invited Pawar as a special guest for the official function, while the Mayor had called off the separate function. However, the Congress went ahead with a separate function on Friday morning.
“The decision about having a Metro rail in Pune was taken during the tenure of the Congress, both at the state and at the centre. The basic administrative process was also given a push by the earlier government. It was expected to start the implementation of Pune Metro project before the Nagpur Metro project, but priority was given to the latter. This was deliberately done by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Nitin Gadkari, as revenge against western Maharashtra,” said Chavan at the function.
The Congress also put up an united front during the function with all its senior leaders, as well as sitting and former corporators, along with office bearers, attending it.
City Congress chief Ramesh Bagawe claimed that the previous state government, led by Prithviraj Chavan, had worked hard to get the requisite permissions for Pune Metro, while the BJP did not do anything. “We wanted NCP chief Sharad Pawar to lay the foundation stone for the project, as he is the senior-most leader from the state, but the mayor cancelled the function after the state government decided to invite the NCP chief,” he said.