'Be polite with politicians'

Feb 14, 2013, 07:51 IST | Vivek Sabnis

Eknath Khadse, leader of opposition in the State Assembly, called DCP Makarand Ranade and advised him after BJP's City General Secretary Dheeraj Ghate complained that the top cop refused to attend a public meeting they were both invited to yesterday, if he was there.

Police personnel are no strangers to being advised about how to behave in the presence of politicians and the trend does not seem to be ending anytime soon. Sometimes the opposite happens like during a public meeting on Tuesday organised at Sadashiv Peth to address the issues plaguing residents.

Local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporators Manisha Ghate and Dhanjay Jadhav called the meeting with the residents and the police to discuss the long-standing menace of illegal food stalls and youngsters misbehaving in the area. A simple disagreement over a speech led to a top cop being advised to ‘be polite with politicians’.

On call: Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, (right) Eknath Khadse, speaks to DCP Ranade on his cell phone, while (left) Dheeraj Ghate, General Secretary, BJP, Pune City looks on.

Makarand Ranade, DCP (Zone I) was at the meeting and when BJP’s city general secretary Dheeraj Ghate stood up to give a speech, the DCP objected. Ghate then met Eknath Khadse, leader of the opposition in the State Assembly yesterday and informed him about the incident. Khadse called up Ranade and asked him to give respect while speaking to leaders like Ghate.

The matter began at the public meeting in Sadashiv Peth and residents and stall owners explained their respective issues. When Ghate stood up and started his speech, Ranade objected and said, “This is not a party meeting. You are not invited and if you speak, I will leave.”

Ranade was then convinced by the residents to stay for the meeting and he promised to take concrete action with regard to their issues. The issue later snowballed when Khadse visited the city to meet BJP City President Vikas Mathakari, who was undergoing treatment at a private hospital.

Ghate was also at the hospital and he complained to Khadse about his spat with Ranade. Khadse then spoke to Rande asking him to be polite and be patient while speaking with a politician like Ghate.

“You should speak with respect to a politician. Ghate had attended the meeting as BJP general secretary and not as a citizen. He should have been allowed to speak at the meeting. But you are spoiling the relations instead of strengthening it,” Khadse had said.

Ghate on the other hand maintains that he was nowhere at fault.
“It was not my fault. Actually, we invited DCP Ranade as the police presence was not seen in the area and needed to redress the issue seriously. We had called the meeting and Ranade did not allow me to speak,” Ghate said.

BJP corporator Manisha Ghate, said, “Ranade turned this into an ego issue. Not allowing Dheeraj Ghate to speak is unfair and there was nothing wrong with him complaining to our leader Khadse about Ranade’s behavior.”

Ranade, when contacted, said, “I don’t want to make it an issue, though Khadse spoke to me on telephone on the same issue. The meeting at Sadashiv Peth was called by the local residents and PMC officials. They also invited the police to address the issue about food stalls in the area.

I told Mr Khadse that it was not a political meeting, but a non-political public forum for addressing the grievances of the people. Therefore, there was no reason for a speech by the BJP general secretary.

He could have spoken as a normal citizen. I did not object when local corporators, who are also political leaders, spoke which was logical. I don’t want to make this an issue, as the police and the PMC had already taken proper action against illegal stalls in the area.”  

You should speak with respect to a politician. Ghate had attended the meeting as BJP general secretary and not as a citizen. He should have been allowed to speak...
— Eknath Khadse

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