Updated: December 18, 2021 7:18:51 am
Opposition parties in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Friday accused the civic body’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of insulting Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji and BR Ambedkar by “keeping their pictures out of” hoardings and advertisements while using “big pictures of its leaders, including Union home minister Amit Shah” who will be the chief guest at a function scheduled for Sunday.
On his visit to the city on December 19, Shah will lay foundation stone for a statue of Shivaji and will unveil the statue of Ambedkar on the civic body premises.
Hoping that Shah’s visit would boost the party’s morale ahead of PMC elections, the BJP has put up hoardings of the functions across the city carrying pictures of the Union home minister.
Corporators from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and the Congress staged a protest during the civic general body meeting on Friday and pointed out that the pictures of Shivaji and Ambedkar were missing from the posters.
Opposition leader Dipali Dhumal of the NCP said the BJP was using the function for political gains ahead of PMC elections adding the party’s action “explains the attitude of the BJP towards the Maratha king and Ambedkar”.
Seeking apology from the BJP, City NCP chief Prashant Jagtap said, “The ruling BJP remembers the national leaders only during elections. They do not have respect for national leaders. Their action and thoughts are contradictory.”
City MNS chief Vasant More said the hoardings of the function without the pictures of Shivaji and Ambedkar was objectionable. “We need to find whether it is being done deliberately,” he said.
The BJP, on the other hand, accused the Opposition parties of not taking initiative to honour Shivaji and Ambedkar during their tenure.
“The Opposition forgot to put up a statue of national leader Ambedkar in civic building during their tenure,” said Ganesh Bidkar, BJP corporator and leader of the house. “The Opposition should congratulate the ruling BJP for taking the initiative to install statue of Maratha king Shivaji in civic main building premises. It is a golden moment in the history of PMC. They should not create politics on all issues,” he said. Bidkar later said necessary correction would be made in the advertisements, adding the “mistake will not be repeated in the future”.
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