ALL political parties except BJP, boycotted the smart city event chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the city on Saturday, while only the city mayor, Prashant Jagtap, an NCP leader, attended “as part of protocol” for the function.
Ahead of the function, the ruling NCP in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Congress, Shiv Sena and MNS on Friday declared a boycott of the event in protest against the alleged humiliation of the mayor by not making mention of him in the invitation card.
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No leader of the protesting political parties attended the event despite being invited. The organisers had decided to invite MPs from the city to share the dais with the Prime Minister for the event but NCP MP Supriya Sule, Shiv Sena MPs Shivajirao Adhalrao-Patil and Shrirang Barne stayed away from the function. Mayor Prashant Jagtap too had declared that he would boycott the event due to the “humiliating treatment” given to the first citizen of the city by not mentioning his name in the invitation card and handing over of the passes for the event. However, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had to make efforts on Friday evening to make the mayor change his stand while ordering an inquiry over the issue. The NCP therefore decided to make the mayor attend the event to maintain protocol but assured that the boycott continues with no other party leader attending it.
The Mayor welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi by gifting him a Puneri Pagdi and statuette of Indian king Chhatrapati Shivaji at the smart city event in Balewadi Sports Complex. The Mayor submitted a memorandum to Modi urging for faster approval of metro rail and other projects pending with the Union government.
The city Congress, led by party unit chief Ramesh Bagawe, held an agitation outside the Balewadi Sports Complex to protest against the failure to tackle drought situation, suicide of farmers and inflation.
The Shiv Sena and MNS leaders had said that the BJP had hijacked the function and was doing its own publicity ahead of the 2017 civic polls.
Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Environment Minister Prakash Jawadekar, Minister of State Babul Supriya, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Governor Vidyasagar Rao were present on the occasion.