Mutha riverbank to host political rallies

Mar 11, 2014, 08:20 IST | Salil Urunkar

All political parties, including Congress, BJP, MNS and AAP are expected to organise huge public meetings of their national leaders in Pune city soon

Political parties try to amass huge numbers at election rallies to trot out their clout and popularity. But with open spaces becoming scarcer, politicos are finding it tricky to accommodate supporters at such jamborees. Coming to their rescue, the district administration, police and municipal corporation have decided to keep the open space on the banks of Mutha River at Deccan ‘reserved’ for political parties to hold rallies and gatherings.

Making room: The open space on the banks of Mutha River, which has been reserved for political rallies. Pic/Mohan Patil

All political parties, including Congress, BJP, MNS and AAP are expected to arrange huge rallies of their national leaders in Pune city soon. BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal, MNS chief Raj Thackeray and Congress bigwigs are expected to hold at least one rally each in Pune Lok Sabha constituency –a traditional Congress bastion.

While granting no-objection certificates (NOCs) to parties about the rally venue, police officials are perplexed about whether to prioritise security or traffic issues. Public spaces, like Mutha riverbank, are convenient for traffic regulation and parking issues, but security problems are another matter. While grounds of private educational institutes like SP College, Fergusson College, BJ Medical College, etc, will also be available for organising public rallies, but many of these places are located in congested parts, which inconveniences the public before and after a rally.

District collector Saurabh Rao said, “There is a dearth of open space in the city. In fact the Mutha banks are suitable for large rallies only. So, to avoid any kind of bias, we have decided to grant permissions to political parties on first-come-first-served basis. hold their rallies.”

Speaking on the matter, deputy commissioner of police (special branch) PV Deshpande said, “We only have the role of a facilitator. We have already asked the district administration to reserve the open space at Deccan on Mutha riverbank. This space won’t be given on rent to anyone else.''

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