Before the civic budget could be tabled in the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) meeting on Wednesday, the ruling BJP came under criticism from the NCP for printing the photograph of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on the fourth page of the budget copy instead of alongside the photo of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
The PMC usually publishes photographs of Union ministers and members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha from the city, along with the Prime Minister, chief minister, deputy chief minister, state ministers, party heads and legislators from the city, in the budget copy.
As soon as the general body meeting began, Leader of the Opposition Dipali Dhumal of NCP objected to the photograph of the deputy chief minister not being printed with that of the chief minister. “We condemn it. It was wrong to publish the photograph of Ajit Pawar on the fourth page and not with the chief minister’s photo,” she said.
Former mayors Prashant Jagtap, Vaishali Bankar and senior NCP leaders Deepak Mankar and Baburao Chandere alleged that the ruling BJP had deliberately published the photograph of the deputy chief minister on the fourth page. “There is a photograph of the state Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis on the page in which the photograph of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is published, but that of the deputy chief minister is not included,” said Chandere.
Mankar said Pawar was the deputy chief minister as well as guardian minister of Pune district. “It was wrong to not to put the photograph of Pawar along with that of the chief minister and the state leader of the opposition,” he said, adding that the NCP would not tolerate any insult to the deputy chief minister.
Congress corporators, too, raised a similar issue, saying photographs of legislators Anant Gadgil and Sharad Ranpise have not been published in the budget book.
With the NCP and Congress continuing their protest, Mayor Murlidhar Mohol intervened and directed the civic
administration to make the necessary corrections in the budget book.
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