The three-day BJP national executive hosted by the state party unit in the city last week is again in the news! A non-government organisation has vehemently demanded that the party should pay for the using the civic body's amenities.
Addressing a letter to the Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) also sought an action against the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) commissioner, Aseem Gupta, for allowing the party for putting up banners, hoardings and festoons illegally in many parts of the city.
"The NMC has caused revenue loss to the tune of Rs 3.59-crore because of the official help given to the BJP at the time of the party's national convention at Nagpur. The entire Nagpur city was defaced with illegal banners, posters, welcome arches, cutouts, erected by the party to muster up a massive publicity of the event, especially in view of the coming Lok Sabha Elections," said Vinod Tiwari, secretary of the VJAS in his letter, addressed to the chief minister.
Incidentally, it is seen as a big favour by the civic body towards the BJP that rules the NMC and hence reeks of biased, it is alleged by some quarters.
Tiwari had requested Chavan to initiate an enquiry into the entire episode and take a stern action against the concerned officials, who were involved to allow the BJP leaders for erecting posters, banners and hoardings that led to huge revenue loss of the civic body.
However, the state BJP President Nitin Gadkari maintained that the party erected posters, banner and hoardings in different parts of the city after getting a due permission from the corporation.
Earlier, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court asked the NMC whether the saffron party had taken permission to erect arches, hoardings and posters across the city. "Is this a common practice in all major cities?" the bench asked. Responding to a petition on the issue, a division bench of the High Court also directed the civic body to reply on it within a fortnight.
The NMC counsel pointed out that the local body had permitted the party to erect hoardings at some select places only. The bench then asked the corporation whether blanket permission was given for erecting the structures.
On the other hand, deputy commission of police (Traffic) Harish Chavan admitted that the BJP had not taken any permission from the police department before erecting such structures. The additional deputy commission of the NMC, Ajay Ramteke said, "We had given permission to erect the arches subject to permission from the police."
The next hearing on the issue will be on February 25.