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Pune: Actor Rekha gets invite from PCMC for school inauguration function, Ajit Pawar doesn’t; NCP fumes

Lande said he has also spoken to Mayor Usha Dhore. "But she refuses to give a clear reply. She told me that she will talk to BJP leaders and let me know whether Pawar will be invited," he said.

Written by Manoj Dattatrye More | Pune |
Updated: February 11, 2021 5:58:29 pm
Of the Rs 14 crore project cost, actor Rekha had promised to give Rs 3 crore from her MPLAD fund. She has so far paid Rs 2.25 crore. (File)

The BJP-led Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s decision to invite veteran actor Rekha to attend the inauguration function of a school in Kasarwadi, but not invite Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar for the same event, has angered the NCP. The party has claimed that the civic body was deliberately trying to “trample on state protocol concerning ministers”.

Work on the five-storey school building was completed three months ago but the inauguration was delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Of the Rs 14 crore project cost, actor Rekha had promised to give Rs 3 crore from her MPLAD fund. She has so far paid Rs 2.25 crore.

Kasarwadi corporator and NCP leader Shyam Lande said, “We want to hold the inauguration function…. a month ago, I had written a letter to the mayor to invite Rekha as well as our leader Ajit Pawar for the inauguration function. However, the Mayor has sent the invitation to Rekha but has not extended the same courtesy to the deputy chief minister of the state.”

Lande said he has also spoken to Mayor Usha Dhore. “But she refuses to give a clear reply. She told me that she will talk to BJP leaders and let me know whether Pawar will be invited,” he said.

NCP spokesperson Umesh Patil said according to the protocol, Ajit Pawar, as Guardian Minister, should have been invited. “As per the laid down government protocol, civic bodies have to issue an invitation for official functions to the district guardian minister. Ajit Pawar is the district guardian minister of Pune and PCMC should have therefore extended the invitation to him.”

Shiv Sena corporator Rahul Kalate said he had also written a letter to the Mayor, asking her to invite state Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde and Pawar for bhoomi pujan of four road works, a school and inauguration of a garden. “But the Mayor refuses to respond to my letter,” he said.

Kalate said Shinde himself has now written a letter to the PCMC and sought its response on the issue. “I have learnt this from the minister’s office,” he said.

The Sena leader said this is not the first time the BJP-led PCMC was ignoring protocols to be followed concerning ministers. “The earlier mayor had also ignored my request to invite the Deputy CM for inauguration of development works in my area,” said Kalate.

Mayor Usha Dhore said she will speak on the issue at an appropriate time. Civic officials said it is the prerogative of the ruling party as to whom to invite for civic functions.

Last month, an event for the draw of lots for distribution of flats under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana was postponed at the last minute after a call from state government officials. The event was cancelled as the PCMC had not followed the protocol of inviting the deputy chief minister, said officials.

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