NCP threatens to pip PM’s Pune Metro event

Pune, Dec 20 (IANS) Pune Mayor Prashant Jagtap on Tuesday threatened to boycott Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s December 24 function to lay the foundation stone for the Pune Metro if NCP chief Sharad Pawar is not invited for the event.

Giving an ultimatum to the state and central governments, Jagtap said if they fail to change their stance by Wednesday, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) would hold its own foundation stone laying ceremony on December 23, a day before the Prime Minister’s event.

“The ball is in their court. If they fail to invite one of the senior-most leaders in the country, who initiated the Pune Metro proposal 10 years ago, the PMC will organise an official function on Friday,” Jagtap told IANS.

“We shall invite everyone concerned, including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Pawar, who will be the chief guest,” he said.

Elaborating, Jagtap aid the PMC is to bear nearly 60 per cent of the total cost of the Metro, while the state and the central governments would contribute the remaining portion of the funds.

Jagtap said Pawar’s name is missing from the official invite and the matter has been brought to the notice of Pune Guardian Minister Girish Mahajan, but there has been no response from the tate government so far.

Two weeks ago, at a meeting of all political parties’ leaders in the PMC, a resolution was passed to invite Pawar as the chief guest for the function, but it was opposed by the Bharatiya Janata Party and ally Shiv Sena.

Several local leaders claim that though the Pune and Nagpur Metro proposals were approved in 2014, Pune Metro has been mired with delays as the central government is giving priority to the Nagpur Metro.

Modi laid the foundation stone for the Rs 10,326-crore Nagpur Metro in August 2014.

The NCP’s move assumes significance in view of the upcoming elections to the PMC scheduled in February 2017, along with Mumbai and other major civic corporations in the state.