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BJP, NCP lock horns over unveiling of memorial

BJP leaders say their elected representatives toiled hard to ensure project was completed, but NCP has passed a proposal in PMC to let Sharad Pawar inaugurate the memorial

With the elections round the corner, the inauguration of a memorial dedicated to Anna Bhau Sathe in Bibwewadi has become a contentious issue for the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as both want it to be unveiled by their respective leaders.


Anna Bhau Sathe

NCP, the ruling party in PMC, has passed a proposal to let Sharad Pawar inaugurate the memorial, which has riled up the BJP’s city unit.


The invitation sent out by NCP. Pic/Mohan Patil

According to BJP office bearers, it was their local corporators and MLAs who have been toiling hard since 2003 to construct the memorial, but when the time has come to inaugurate it, the NCP leaders want Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar to do the honours.

‘Not fair’
“Our Bibwewadi corporators Manasi Deshpande and Sunil Kamble kept the proposal in the PMC’s General Body meeting, stating that the party’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Gopinath Munde, would inaugurate the memorial. Not only this, I personally raised the issue of pendency of work of the memorial in the Vidhan Sabha.


In memoriam: BJP MLA from Parvati, Madhuri Misal, addressed the media to share the party’s grievances on the inauguration of Anna Bhau Sathe’s memorial in Bibwewadi

However, with majority on their side, the NCP corporators brought in a fresh proposal, putting forward the name of Sharad Pawar to inaugurate the memorial, and passed it,” said BJP MLA from Parvati, Madhuri Misal, who yesterday addressed the media to share the party’s grievances. NCP has 51 corporators in the PMC while its ally Congress has 18 elected corporators.

Misal added that the BJP leaders respect Pawar and would like him to participate in the opening ceremony, however NCP should stop taking credit for the efforts put in by the BJP leaders for construction of the memorial.

“To stop the high-handedness of NCP leaders, we have decided to inaugurate the memorial today at the hands of Sathe’s daughter-in-law Savitri Sathe and his granddaughter Suvarna,” added Misal.

Party MLA from Kasba, Girish Bapat said that earlier the party leaders had organised an inauguration ceremony by inviting NCP leaders for the event, but their leaders disagreed, as they were adamant that Pawar should inaugurate it.
The Mahayuti’s allies — RPI and Shiv Sena leaders — were also present during the press meet and agreed with BJP on this issue.

NCP lays claim
Meanwhile, Mayor Chanchala Kodre also conducted a press conference yesterday wherein she stated that the BJP is politicising the issue. “We conducted a meeting of group leaders of all the parties on the same issue in which BJP group leader in the PMC, Ashok Yenpure, was also present. He showed his readiness to let Pawar inaugurate the event,” said Kodre. The mayor said that Munde has also been invited for the event. A formal inauguration is scheduled for February 8, and NCP leader Ankush Kakde confirmed that Pawar is unveiling the memorial.

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