Sharad Pawar inaugurates 31st Pune Festivalhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/sharad-pawar-inaugurates-31st-pune-festival-5974242/

Sharad Pawar inaugurates 31st Pune Festival

Chhagan Bhujbal attends festival with NCP chief, ending speculation he may join Shiv Sena; CM visits Ganesh Mandals.

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Sharad Pawar with actor Shatrughan Sinha at Pune Festival at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch on Friday. (Express photo/Pavan Khengre)

NCP chief Sharad Pawar said on Friday that veterans of various disciplines should not take a break but instead shape the next generation in their field of work. Pawar was speaking after inaugurating the 31st Pune Festival.

He said, “We should not stop working. We should continue to contribute in our field by shaping the next generation.”

Speaking about the origin of Pune Festival, Pawar said former city MP Suresh Kalmadi had approached him to start the festival 30 years ago. “I had warned him that the festival should be good as it was in Pune, whose residents are very reactive. Kalmadi and his team have organised the festival successfully for the past 30 years and it is now known the world over,” he said.

Meanwhile, former state minister Harshvardhan Patil, who sources say is likely to quit the Congress, did not attend the event despite being invited as a guest. Patil had recently alleged that the NCP had cheated him by taking the Indapur Assembly seat, which he wants to contest, in the seat sharing arrangement with the Congress.

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In another development, NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal arrived at the event with Pawar, ending speculation that he was planning to quit the NCP and join Shiv Sena.

At the festival, veteran industrialist Rahul Bajaj and actor Prem Chopra received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

State Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal said the Pune Festival has been successful as it provides a unique platform to promote and encourage cultural, sports and social events.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited several Ganesh Mandals in the city. “The state government does not have any plans to allow private functions at the forts of Maratha King Shivaji. Other forts with no historical importance were being considered for tourism activities,” he said. He said the forts of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj were all in the heritage list which exempts them from being used for private commercial gain.