NCP chief and former Union minister Sharad Pawar shared the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, but was not given an opportunity to address the crowd. Other than Modi, Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, all of them BJP leaders, spoke at the event. The NCP chief, along with PMC Mayor Prashant Jagtap and PCMC Mayor Shakuntala Dharade, was present on the dais but didn’t get a chance to speak.
Earlier, Jagtap had declared that the bhoomipujan would be done by the NCP chief, as the party was in power in the two local civic bodies. The decision was cancelled after the Chief Minister assured that Pawar would be invited as a special guest for the function and would be given an opportunity to speak.
The Congress, which stayed away from the ceremony today, had held a symbolic bhoomipujan the day before. On Saturday, the city unit of the Congress held a protest against the BJP-led central government and demonetisation.