Leasing of amenity spaces: NCP’s “yes, no, maybe” forces BJP to adjourn PMC GB meet

Published on Aug 26, 2021 09:54 PM IST

PUNE The much-awaited general body meeting of the Pune municipal corporation on Thursday turned into a game of “noughts and crosses’, with decision made by members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) being changed, and then, the ruling BJP having to respond

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ByAbhay Khairnar

PUNE The much-awaited general body meeting of the Pune municipal corporation on Thursday turned into a game of “noughts and crosses’, with decision made by members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) being changed, and then, the ruling BJP having to respond.

The sum total at the end of the day is that the PMC’s plan to lease out its amenity spaces has been put on hold for the time-being, at least until the next GB meet in September.

The day opened with senior NCP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Vandana Chavan informing the media that the “NCP will support the proposal (leasing of amenity spaces) at the general body meeting if the ruling party accepts their (NCP’s) suggestions”.

This caught the BJP by surprise as Chavan has been a most-vocal critic of the proposal.

There was much discontent within the NCP ranks, post Chavan’s “we will support it” statement.

It’s not clear if calls were made to NCP high command in Baramati and Mumbai, but an hour before the GB meeting was to begin, a directive was issued to all NCP elected members – proposal to lease amenity spaces was to be opposed.

The BJP, caught in the crossfire, decided to adjourn the general body meeting so as to avoid having to take a decision on the proposal.

Then came the explanations. NCP’s city unit president Prashant Jagtap said, “Vandana Chavan told the media that if the BJP accepts suggestions, then the party would support it. But, when we got the proposal, we found that the BJP did not keep its promise and we decided to oppose it. The NCP remains with the Maha Vikas Aghadi on the issue.”

MVA alliance members treaded carefully. Congress leader Aba Bagul and Shiv Sena leader Prithviraj Sutar issued a joint statement that read: “We took a stand to oppose the proposal from day one and remained firm. BJP leaders approached us and tried to convince us, but we remained firm.”

BJP leader of the house Ganesh Bidkar said, “We are firm on the proposal. As the mayor’s relative passed away, we postponed the general body meeting. It is well if the NCP comes with us, otherwise the BJP has the numbers to pass proposal. We will give it the nod at the next meeting. “

With a decision on the controversial proposal postponed, citizen activist and NGOs all opposing the proposal will have more time to ensure that no matter who wins the “noughts and crosses” poltical game, the city’s amenity spaces will not be leased.

Several important decisions have now also been delayed due to the PMC’s general body meeting being adjourned on Thursday.

Decisions on charging stations for e-vehicles, the Katraj Metro route, and the sale of apartments owned by the PMC will also have to wait for the next GB in September.

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