An all-party leader meeting at the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) yesterday discussed the shifting of a statue of the late freedom fighter Kakasaheb Gadgil from a busy junction, an issue that has remained unresolved for six years now. A unanimously decision was taken yesterday to move the statue elsewhere by leaders of the Congress, the NCP, the MNS, the BJP and the RPI.
Mayor Vaishali Bankar, who chaired the meeting, said, “The statue will be shifted to the west side water fountain near the Bajirao Peshwe statue on the premises of the Shaniwar Wada. The fountain will be demolished and the statue will instead stand at the spot. Earlier, it had been suggested that the
statue be moved to Vartak Garden in Shaniwar Peth, which was not accepted by (grandson of Kakasaheb) Anant Gadgil.”
In response to the fresh round of discussions yesterday, Anant Gadgil, who is the Congress state spokesperson, said he had clarified a long time ago that he had no issues with the shifting and lamented that the repeated discussions only showed people were playing politics with his grandfather’s memory.
The Mayor said a final decision would have to be taken by the General Body. “We are proposing the issue for final decision in the PMC General Body meeting,” Bankar said. BJP Youth Forum deputy president Pramod Kondhre had submitted a memorandum in 2009 to the then mayor Rajlaxmi Bhosale warning that there would be an agitation if the statue was not removed.
Gadgil said he understood the need to move the statue as he was an architect and the lack of a decision so far only proved his point that other were more interested in the political aspect of the issue rather than facilitating smooth traffic flow. “By profession I am an architect and teach road and traffic engineering aspects to students. I do understand the importance of vehicular traffic at the junction where my grandfather’s statue stands,” he said. “I and my family have already given written consent for moving the statue. But still politics is being played on the same issue.”
Gadgil said he saw no problem in the spot proposed in yesterday’s meeting and urged everybody to stop playing politics and get done with the shifting . “I had seen many places with PMC Traffic Planner Shrinivas Bonala and decided to place it where the fountain is today by demolishing it,” he said. “There is no problem in demolishing the fountain as the PMC’s contract with the fountain sponsoring company has already expired.”