Parties woo voters with metro promise

Ajit Pawar holds road shows; Somaiya questions Cong silence over Kalmadi

Political parties of all hues have promised to gift Punekars the metro train, if they are voted to power.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who has been camping in the city since yesterday, organised road shows in the pockets that could not be covered earlier.

BJP's Kirit Somaiya at a press meet yesterday

Pawar got a good response in wards falling under the Cantonment assembly constituency -- Bhavani Peth, Mangalwar Peth, Koregav Park. Like he did on Wednesday, Pawar again left the rally half way from Wadgav Sheri yesterday, leaving the onus of leading the rally on party MLA Bapusaheb Pathare, Advocate Jaydevrav Gayakwad and Usman Hiroli.

The leaders managed to pull it off with support from thousands of enthusiastic, slogan-shouting NCP workers who rallied behind them till the finishing point. Though Pawar did not mention the metro, the NCP manifesto promises it.

NCP's Ajit Pawar on the campaign trail

On the Congress campaign trail, its state president Manikrao Thakre released the party manifesto. Asked about the CWG-scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi, Thakre said, "We cannot stop people from meeting him. Kalmadi has done a lot of work in the city, so people continue to go and meet him."

Some of important promises made in the Congress manifesto include metro services, air-conditioned buses,  and  an increase in the number of buses. The Congress also promised to build a film city in Yerawada on the lines of Hyderabad's Ramoji Film City if voted to power.

Congress state president Manikrao Thakre releases the party

Thakre also promised to gift Punekars a new medical college and a stadium named after cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Terming the Congress manifesto a list of impractical promises, BJP city president Vikas Mathkari said instead of promising Punekars the moon, the Congress should actually do introspection and ask themselves why people should vote them in the first place.

"Gone are the days when the electorate used to fall in the trap of sweet-talker politicians, now only your work speaks for you. Now one can only win over the voter through good governance," he said. Taking a dig at the Congress leadership for its silence over Kalmadi, BJP national secretary Kirit Somaiya said several Congress leaders were neck-deep in corruption but their party high command was maintaining silence on these issues.

"Around 200 acres of defence land in the city has been illegally given to developers. I have already given the papers to the CBI. They are investigating the matter. Across the country, around 10,000 acre of defence land has been taken up by private developers and politicians are also involved in this," Somaiya said.

He added that the Kalpataru builders land scam was also a part of the defence land scam. The BJP leader alleged that senior Congress leaders like former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and Public Works Minister Chhagan Bhujbal were also involved in the scams.

Commenting on the 'faulty' electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the state, he said these equipment should be replaced with new ones. He said the proposal to change the EVMs had been passed by all parties in the state and the election commission must do the needful in this regard.

Asked whether the city's metro dream would materialise anytime soon, he said, "If voted to power, we shall surely bring the metro on the ground of reality -- and not keep the things on paper only."

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