Shivajinagar, 26th January 2024: A scheduled inauguration of a 60 lakh liter water tank in Gokhalenagar, within the Shivajinagar constituency represented by BJP MLA Siddharth Shirole, witnessed political turmoil as NCP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s presence loomed over the event.
Contrary to the plan, Congress MLA Ravindra Dhangekar, former MLA Mohan Joshi, and former corporator Datta Bahirat, accompanied by numerous activists, took it upon themselves to inaugurate the water tank ahead of Ajit Pawar’s scheduled time. The premature inauguration led to a heated exchange between police officers and Congress workers, creating a tense atmosphere. Journalists attempting to cover the incident were barred from entering, sparking a dispute between the media and law enforcement. One journalist said that his camera was seized.
During the impromptu inauguration, MLA Dhangekar accused the BJP of appropriating credit for work initiated by the Congress party. He emphasized Bahirat’s efforts in liaising with Pune municipal corporation (PMC) to ensure water supply for Gokhalenagar residents. Dhangekar expressed discontent over the absence of BJP MLA Shirole’s involvement in the event, alleging a deliberate snub. In protest, the Congress leaders opened the event before Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s scheduled appearance.
Dhangekar stated, “Deputy Chief Minister Pawar has consistently acknowledged leaders from both ruling and opposition parties. However, it seems that the BJP MLA from this constituency chose not to extend an invitation or share his photo for the event. We register our protest by initiating the ceremony beforehand.”
He further indicated that a complaint regarding the incident would be lodged with Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, emphasizing the need for inclusivity and respect for leaders across party lines during such events. The incident highlights the ongoing political tension and rivalry within Pune’s local politics.