BJP employs double standards in Pimpri-Chinchwad by not supporting Asha Shendge, alleges fellow corporator

The party stood strongly behind standing committee chairman Nitin Landge who was accused of corruption, but is not supporting Asha Shendge who was arrested for allegedly throwing ink on the municipal commissioner's nameplate, said Seema Savale.

After BJP corporator Asha Shendge and 10 others were remanded to judicial custody for allegedly throwing ink on the Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal commissioner Rajesh Patil’s nameplate, fellow BJP corporator Seema Savale has come out in support of her and accused the party of “double-standards” and said that it was not supporting “honest corporators and citizens”. Shendge was protesting against the civic body citing the delay in road works and the inconvenience it has caused for the public.

“The Pimpri-Chinchwad BJP unit is full of double standards. On the one hand, the party stood strongly behind standing committee chairman Nitin Landge who was accused of corruption. On the other hand, it refused to support honest protestors. If the party can stand behind someone who faced a serious charge, why couldn’t it support a corporator who was leading a protest against the way the civic administration was making life miserable for citizens? Not only did it not support a corporator, but it also refused to back even aggrieved and honest citizens,” Savale told The Indian Express on Sunday.

Savale said she would raise a complaint with Maharashtra BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on the way the BJP unit in Pimpri-Chinchwad is functioning.

Savale said, “despite the kind of allegations Nitin Landge faced, the party did not even ask him to resign as the chairman. Then what wrong has corporator Asha Shendge done? Nothing. She had merely taken up the case of citizens in her ward. In a democracy, the citizens too have a right to protest. The citizens from different religions were protesting against roads being dug up in their area which was causing inconvenience to them. The citizens threw the ink on the nameplate of the commissioner and another officer, not the corporator… The citizens did this out of frustration as roads in their area were dug up since last year and PCMC has failed to complete the work,” Savale said.

Savale said corporator Shendge had no choice but to lead the morcha of angry citizens to the commissioner’s office. “The local residents were pestering her to stop PCMC from causing inconvenience to them during the monsoon and festive season. The citizens were not wrong as the state government prevents undertaking any road works during the rains,” she said.

Alleging that the citizens were wrongly charged by the PCMC administration, Savale said, “the citizens, some of whom are housewives, have been charged under Section 353 of IPC for obstructing government servants. Theirs was no obstruction. They should have been detained and let off in the evening like done in many other morchas. After Landge was arrested, NCP and Sena protested at PCMC headquarters. Why were they not arrested on the charge of obstructing the civic officials from entering the civic office for doing their work?” she asked.

“I have written several letters to PCMC commissioner seeking a hearing on corruption on smart city projects but he keeps postponing the hearing. His actions against the citizens of Kasarwadi are undemocratic. He should have taken the initiative to resolve their grievances rather than sending them to jail.”

Namdeo Dhake, BJP house leader in PCMC, said, “corporator Shendge protested at the commissioner’s office without informing the party. If she was going to lead the citizens in this manner, she should have alerted us. But she didn’t do that. Anyways, we requested the commissioner not to file a police complaint against the citizens, but he refused to listen.”

‘Just because they are corporators, they should not think officials are their servants’

The municipal commissioner Rajesh Patil, meanwhile, said,”the corporator had stopped the smart city projects in her ward by making some oral complaints. I had told her that the work will be completed in time. However, the next day, she came with the ink. I don’t know what she wanted to prove. By stretching her arm, she closed my cabin. I had to go for the video-conferencing of the deputy chief minister. The corporator obstructed my way and she had no intention to hold a discussion with me. Just because they are corporators, they should not think officials are their servants. Officials are afraid of working in her ward. Therefore, the corporator should do some introspection.”

The commissioner said cable-laying working for smart city projects is undergoing in the city. “I had directed officials to complete the work by September end so that we could provide smart city project facilities to the citizens. The corporator stalled the work in her area. Joint city engineer Ashok Bhalkar met her and promised to complete the work in quick time. The corporator also met me and I too had told her that the work would be completed as early as possible. She had insisted that the work should be stopped which was not possible as it was already delayed for long.”

Patil said, “if a corporator behaves in this fashion with the commissioner, then other officials will be terrified. Therefore, the administration has filed a police complaint.”

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