The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) plan to host the first international wrestling competition in the city met with yet another roadblock after members of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) opposed the participation of Pakistani wrestlers in the competition that is scheduled for first week of January 2013 at the recently held Standing Committee meeting.
Members of the Shiv Sena, the BJP and the Congress had raised similar objections.
“I hope that difference of opinion is sorted out by the next meeting,” Standing Committee Chairperson Baburao Chandre said. The next meeting has been scheduled for January 1.
MNS members, including Babu Vagaskar, Kishor Shinde and Neelam Kulkarni, raised their voice against the idea of inviting Pakistani wrestlers to participate in the competition.
“We are the first ones to raise our voice against inviting Pakistani wrestlers for the competition. BJP and Sena joined us later,” an MNS member said.
Kulkarni said there was no question of inviting Pakistani wrestlers in the city for participating in the Mayor Trophy.
“The PMC is playing unfair by allotting Rs 40 lakh cash rewards for international participants against Rs 18 lakh for local wrestlers,” Kulkarni said.
Vagaskar said the Mayor Trophy would be conducted outside PMC’s jurisdiction at Shivne village.
“The PMC should have promoted local as well as state-level wrestlers. We’ll continue to protest against participation of Pakistani wrestlers. The future course of action will be decided after the next Standing Committee meeting,” Vagaskar said.
PMC Sports Committee Chairperson Avinash Bagwe had earlier opposed the wrestling tournament by describing it as a ‘big scam’. He said the Rs 1.5 crore extravagant event had violated several basic norms.
“The ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) took the decision without consulting our committee. While Rs 50 lakh were allotted from PMC’s budget and some amount was diverted from other expenses. It is equally strange that the PMC has promoted co-sponsorship, which was against its principal. We will raising the issue with the municipal commissioner soon,” Bagwe said.
Mayor Vaishali Bankar was unavailble for comment.