After resigning from his post, he has been maintaining a low profile in the city. Other colleagues in Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) however, enjoyed the mega event as they emerged on Saturday wearing turbans and their trademark white khadi, to greet those participating in the immersion procession.
Pawar’s presence in the city was confirmed by the city police. DCP (Special Branch) Mahadev Tambde said, “He had left Mumbai by 11 am and was expected to reach Pune by 2 pm. I don’t know where he was planning to stay in the city, but he generally stays at his own residence off University road.”
City Police Commissioner Gulabrao Pol, said, “We don’t have his exact programme schedule, but he is coming to Pune sometime on Saturday afternoon.” NCP spokesperson Ankush Kakade confirmed that Pawar was in the city, but said that he had no idea whether he would be attending the immersion procession. NCP MP Vandana Chavan, Standing Committee Chairman Baburao Chandere, party spokesperson Ankush Kakde and many others were present at the immersion procession. BJP MLA Girish Bapat, Shiv Sena MLC Dr Neelam Gorhe was also present in the inaugural part of the procession.
Tainted city MP Suresh Kalmadi, who was ousted from Congress in April last year, was present in the procession, but was accompanied by only Deputy Mayor Deepak Mankar and PMC’s former standing committee chairman Arvind Shinde. When asked about his request to Lord Ganesh, Kalmadi said, “I urged the lord to make Pune a global city.” Many Congress leaders, including MLA Ramesh Bagwe, Vinakay Nimhan and senior PMC corporator Aaba Bagul were also not seen in the procession. They left after a while.