Pimpri: A tussle between two factions in the Pimpri Chinchwad unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has become evident. A couple of days ago, Mayor Nitin Kalje and Standing Committee Chairperson Seema Savale reportedly had a heated exchange over a trivial issue. Although the argument was over the Mayor’s vehicle, it is learnt that this incident is a result of the power struggle between two strong camps in the ruling BJP.
According to sources, there is a lack of trust among the office-bearers of PCMC. There are allegations that the Mayor and leader of house Eknath Pawar are not taken into confidence by the Standing Committee while taking decisions. On Tuesday, Mayor Nitin Kalje was in Pune for some official work. While returning from Pune, his official car broke down. Since he came late for the official meeting in the PCMC, it became an issue. A demand was raised for purchasing a new vehicle for the Mayor.
Later, the Mayor issued a press release stating that he did not raise the demand for a new car. However, it did not go down well with the Standing Committee Chairperson. The said argument between Seema Savale and Mayor Nitin Kalje took place over the issue in the Mayor’s chamber. PCMC staffers in his chamber were asked to leave the chamber while the verbal clash was on.
BJP city unit chief and MLA Laxman Jagtap, who was on a tour to Russia, came to know about this. He called up Mayor Kalje, who did not receive his phone call. Bhosari MLA Mahesh Landge was completely unaware about this development.
After returning from Delhi, Landge held an urgent meeting of his supporters (corporators) as development works in Bhosari area have been adversely affected since funds have not been released for the same. The corporators belonging to the Landge faction have not been given a copy of the annual budget of the PCMC. So, they are forced to plead before the Standing Committee. Landge reportedly gave tips to the corporators on getting their work done in their respective wards. But they are worried as Jagtap supporter Seema Savale holds sway over the Standing Committee being its head. In this background, the gulf between these two camps is going to widen further in coming days.
Although leader of house Eknath Pawar, who is a party loyalist, is trying to resolve the differences, he said he would pursue the issue of a new vehicle for the Mayor.
After coming to power, the Standing Committee chairperson and the leader of house have refused to use the PCMC vehicles. They are using their personal vehicles. However, the Mayor has been using the official vehicle. Since it goes kaput every now and then, he initially raised the demand for a new car. Later, he denied making any such demand and said the civic administration must take cognisance of the matter considering the situation. “I wll accept a new vehicle if the civic administration provides me one,” Kalje said.