Minister of State, Water Resources and Water Conservation, Vijay Shivtare castigated Pune District Guardian Minister Girish Bapat Tuesday for allegedly humiliating him by not inviting him to the inauguration of Pune Metro by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. Bapat denied the charges, saying he had no role to play in sending invites for the function.
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Shivtare belongs to the Shiv Sena, while Bapat is from the BJP. “Despite Bapat being the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, he ignored the protocol of inviting a minister. Bapat himself showed no courtesy of extending an invitation to me…,” said Shivtare. “If he is a minister from Pune, I am also a minister from Pune… If he was there, I too should have been invited,” said Shivtare.
He said when he spoke to the municipal commissioner and the district collector, both told him that the invitee list was not prepared by them. “It is clear that Bapat being the district guardian minister, he decided who all will be there on the stage with the PM,” said Shivtare.
Stating that he has complained to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis about his “humiliation” and the “attitude” of Bapat, Shivtare said his supporters were angry and planning to damage Bapat’s vehicle on the day Modi arrived for the function. “But I restrained them, urging them not to create any ruckus as it would not be appropriate as the PM and the CM would be attending the function,” said Shivtare, alleging that he was deliberately humiliated by Bapat.
Shivtare alleged that Bapat had been playing politics for some time now. “Even during the recent Saswad Municipal Council election, the BJP at the behest of Bapat had extended support to the Congress. I tried for an alliance with BJP, but Bapat did not allow that to happen,” he said.
When contacted, Bapat denied Shivtare’s allegations. “The decision regarding who will be on stage with the Prime Minister is taken by officials at the PMO and the CMO. I had no role to play,” he said.
Bapat said since it was a function relating to Pune city, only MLAs and MPs from Pune city were invited and not from the entire district. “Even otherwise, Shiv Sena MPs like Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil and Shrirang Barne were invited and they were on stage,” he said.
Bapat said there was no reason for him to extend an invitation to Shivtare as it was not his son’s wedding. “It was an official programme and not my son’s wedding. The protocol office has done the invitation job and I should not be held responsible,” he said. Bapat said there was no question of him issuing an apology for a mistake that he had not done.