Women’s Festival continues to rake up storm in civic body
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The controversy over the recent Women's Festival of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) shows no signs of dying down. Women corporators from opposition parties staged a walkout from the General Body (GB) meeting on Wednesday over alleged insult.
BJP, Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) corporators claimed that there was massive misappropriation of funds at the festival, alleging that the money was used by the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to promote its interest.
The matter was raised by MNS corporators Sushila Netke and Pushpa Kanojiya, who said women corporators had not received invitation cards for the festival. Kanojiya also claimed that the name of MNS leader Rita Gupta was dropped from the invitation card at the eleventh hour and new invitation cards were printed a night before the festival. The MNS corporators sought an explanation for this from both the civic administration and the ruling NCP-Congress alliance.
BJP corporators Varsha Tapkir, Medha Kulkarni, MNS corporators Rupali Patil, Aarti Babar and others too raised their voice against what they called "selective invitation". They sought details of the Rs 25 lakh spent on the festival.
The Festival had earlier generated controversy with NCP Mayor Vaishali Bankar and senior Congress corporator Sunanda Gadale-Patil trading charges. It started with Gadale-Patil allegedly stopping NCP MP Supriya Sule from inaugurating the festival until the arrival of Congress MP Rajani Patil. This reportedly incensed Sule. Later, Bankar claimed Gadale-Patil had apologised for her behaviour, which was vehemently denied by the latter.
When NCP corporators took up the matter again at the GB meeting on Wednesday, Bankar, while trying to calm them down, reiterated that Gadale-Patil had apologised to Sule, which the latter denied again.
Trying to play the mediator, senior Congress corporator Kamal Vyavahare asked the women corporators to take a united stand. However, this failed to pacify opposition corporators, who continued with their demand that either the Mayor explain the expenditure at the festival or adjourn the meeting. As the Mayor refused to do either, the corporators staged a walkout.
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