Former chief minister and leader of opposition in the state assembly Devendra Fadnavis performed the 'bhoomi pujan' for the construction work of an art gallery in memory of late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan in the Kanakia area of Mira Road on Friday evening.
While BJP leaders including Poonam Mahajan, Mihir Kotecha, Niranjan Davkhare and Ravindra Chavhan registered their presence, their Shiv Sena counterparts including guardian minister Eknath Shinde were conspicuous by their absence in the ceremony.
Alike their strained relationships in the state government, friends turned foes, the BJP and Shiv Sena, are also at loggerheads in the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC).
“This pious day coincides with my daughter’s birthday who has never seen her grandfather but accustomed to his reputation. Apart from being a straight forward political leader, my father loved art, drama and theater. This art gallery will be a fitting tribute to him,” said Poonam Mahajan.
“I am grateful to the MBMC for giving me this opportunity of performing bhoomi pujan in memory of Pramod Mahajan ji who groomed and mentored the younger generation of the BJP including me by his oratory and extra-ordinary managerial skills,” said Fadnavis who did not miss the opportunity to mock the Sena-led MVA government by referring to Mahajan’s 23-year-old speech which according to him resonates with the state’s current political fiasco.
Apart from the bhoomi poojan of the art gallery and handing over keys of shops to beneficiaries in the Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) project in Kashimira, the former chief minister also inaugurated a state-of-the art, 68-meter tall turntable ladder (TTL) which will help fire brigade personnel of the MBMC to reach as high as 24 floors for emergency rescue and firefighting operations.
Congress Stages Protest:
Workers from the local Congress unit led by Pramod Samant staged an agitation to register their protest against the wasteful expenditure by the ruling governance in the MBMC and BJP-led central government for ignoring the demands of agitating farmers.
Sporting black plastic robes printed with two-liners in support of the farmers, the agitators shouted anti-BJP slogans outside the venue. The agitators were rounded up and taken to the Mira Road police station by on duty personnel. Activists of social welfare organization Jiddi Maratha Pratishthan led by Pradeep Jangam have already launched a sit-in agitation demanding full-fledged hospitals and playgrounds instead of art galleries.