As Kalmadi has been ousted from the party, his supporters have invited several senior ministers in state government, including the Chief Minister Pritviraj Chavan, as guests for the 24th chapter of Pune Festival, which starts on September 19.
Interestingly, Kalmadi is the president of the committee that organises the Pune Festival. While Kalmadi in Delhi, his adherents — including PMC Deputy Mayor Deepak Mankar, former Standing Committee chairman Avinash Shinde, former Deputy Mayor Dr Satish Desai, and former Education Board Chairperson Sangeeta Tiwari — have taken the lead in organising the 10-day fest.
As the festival is jointly organised with MTDC, Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal will inaugurate it. Leaders expected at the inauguration include Bharatiya Janata Party Dy Leader in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde, Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam, Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, Co-operation Minister Harshavardhan Patil, Textiles Minister Mohammd Arif Naseem Khan, and Minister of Employment Nitin Raut.
“Film director Subhash Ghai, actors Randhir Kapoor, Shekhar Suman and Parineeti Chopra too are expected to attend the inaugural show,” informed Krishnakant Kudale, chief coordinator of the festival. “Last year, the fest was inaugurated by Subhash Ghai in the presence Patangrao Kadam and Harshavardhan Patil. However, this time it will be much bigger.”
Meanwhile, refuting the contention that the fest is being used as means to make peace between Kalmadi and senior Congress leaders, City Congress President Abhay Chhajed, said, “We are associated with the Pune Festival since the past several years. The fest is in no way related to the party.”