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PCMC chief under fire from corporators, Mayor accuses him of playing politics at NCP’s behest

The mayor's comments came a day after ruling BJP corporators accused Patil of playing politics over the issue of granting Rs 3,000 financial assistance to hawkers, vendors, auto-rickshaw drivers and barbers.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: June 20, 2021 10:45:24 am
Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil. (Express Photo)

Pimpri-Chinchwad Mayor Usha Dhore on Saturday said she agreed with the view of BJP corporators that Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil was “behaving more like a political leader than an IAS officer”. Her comments came a day after ruling BJP corporators accused Patil of playing politics over the issue of granting Rs 3,000 financial assistance to hawkers, vendors, auto-rickshaw drivers and barbers.

“Seeing the way he is rejecting BJP’s efforts to help the poor and local residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad, it is clear that the municipal commissioner is busy playing politics in PCMC. He seems to have forgotten that he is an IAS officer whose primary job is to serve the citizens…,” the mayor told The Indian Express on Saturday.

The mayor said the ruling BJP had proposed to give Rs 3,000 financial assistance to the poor.

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“The PCMC is supposed to look after the welfare of its citizens. What is wrong in helping the poor in the time of a crisis like the pandemic? We are not helping the rich, we are reaching out to the poor with help which they desperately need… We are trying to help such citizens in distress,” she said.

Asked on behalf of which political party she thought Patil was acting, the mayor said, “Everyone, he is acting on behalf of the NCP… In view of the upcoming civic elections, the NCP fears that the BJP will walk away with credit. But our help has nothing to do with elections. It is sincerely aimed at helping the poor.”

“We all know the municipal commissioner is functioning under pressure from a political party. He should openly declare the name of the political party and the reason for it,” she said.

Patil refused to comment on the allegations made by her and other BJP corporators.

Dhore’s reaction comes a day after BJP corporators alleged, during the general body meeting, that the commissioner was behaving like a political leader.

BJP corporator Ambarnath Kamble said, “We suspect that the commissioner is planning to start a political party. Are you going to field candidates against us…”.

While Patil quietly listened to the allegations, senior PCMC officials reiterated that financial help can’t be extended as it does not fall within the purview of civic laws. “The state government is already providing Rs 1,500 to the poor. The same benefit can’t be extended twice,” said civic officials.

PCMC House leader Namdeo Dhake, who belongs to the BJP, said, “The decision to extend the help of Rs 3,000 to the poor was taken only after discussing it with the municipal commissioner. But the commissioner is playing politics…He has insulted the general body meeting. The commissioner should declare at whose behest he rejected the demand for extending help to the poor.”

MNS corporator Sachin Chikhale said, “The commissioner should explore the possibility of extending help within the framework of the civic laws.”

NCP House leader Raju Misal said, “The poor should get help but the civic administration will extend the help only if it is within the purview of the law.”

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