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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Larger public interest will decide NCP stance on amenity spaces issue: Ajit Pawar

On Thursday, when the NCP general body (GB) was scheduled to decide on the issue, party leader Vandana Chavan told media persons that her party would support the proposal.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: August 28, 2021 7:05:56 am
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. (File)

AMID THE controversy of the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) plan to lease out amenity spaces and the NCP’s dilly-dallying over the issue, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday said the party leadership will deliberate over the issue and take a decision to safeguard the public interest.

On Thursday, when the NCP general body (GB) was scheduled to decide on the issue, party leader Vandana Chavan told media persons that her party would support the proposal. However, later in the day, other leaders such as former mayor Prashant Jagtap contradicted Chavan and said the party was not in favour of the concept and will not support it in the GB meeting. This prompted the BJP to postpone the meeting and the proposal is now scheduled to be taken up in a meeting likely to be held next month.

The plan is to lease out 270 vacant amenity spaces in the city on a 30-year lease, which may be extended to 90 years, to private players. The private parties, as per the proposal, should develop the spaces within five years of the handover. The Congress and the Shiv Sena – two other constituents of the Maha Vikas Aghadi – have already conveyed their opposition to the idea.

When asked about the issue, Pawar said, “There are many senior party leaders in Pune, including Vandana Chavan, Prashant Jagtap, Chetan Tupe, Sunil Tingre and Deepali Dhumal. Deciding the stance on such an important issue will require deliberations. Finally, we will take a call that will be in the larger interest of the public.”

State in favour of deferring local body poll due to fear of Covid-19 third wave

Pawar said the government’s stance on deferment of local body polls, which are scheduled for December 2021, is not linked to OBC quota issue as it is due to the fear of a third Covid-19 wave.

“The government is inclined to suggest to the election commission to defer the local body polls because of the fear of the third wave. These elections are fought very vigorously, require thousands of persons to visit polling booths and hence are a worry considering the Covid-19 threat,” said Pawar.

He added that in the recent past, the Supreme Court has pulled up several state governments and the election body as well over going ahead with the elections in the midst of the pandemic.

“In the past, local body polls have been deferred – in one case for 11 years – looking at the situation. These polls should be conducted only considering the safety of all,” said Pawar, adding that suggestions were received from the political parties over OBC issue as well and that is an additional factor.

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