PUNE: Reticent city MP Anil Shirole is steadily occupying the centre stage in the city’s politics by taking up various development issues, particularly related to the Pune Municipal Corpration (PMC). Moreover, he enjoys the confidence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and top bureaucrats in Pune due to his clean image and soft-spoken nature.
PM Narendra Modi-led government completed three years recently. During these three years, Shirole, who got elected with a massive margin of 3.15 lakh votes, chose to remain low-profile. He backed PMPML Chief Tukaram Mundhe and insisted that the ailing transport body needed an upright officer like Mundhe by completely neglecting the hue and cry raised by his own party leaders against the PMPML CMD.
Shirole managed to get his son Siddharth elected as a corporator and later got him appointed on the board of directors of PMPML with an intention to get first-hand information about the only public transport body in the city.
When it came to the ambitious Pune Metro Rail Project, Shirole silently kept pushing it after becoming the city MP. The project was delayed further considering his view on having an underground metro rail. However, later, the Vanaz to Ramwdi route’s alignment was changed to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. Later, the project was approved by the government and its actual work started.
Shirole also followed up plans such as Smart City, expansion of the Lohegaon Airport, the new airport at Saswad etc without bothering what views his party colleagues in Pune had about them. Shirole, who prefers working silently, started holding meetings with BJP MLAs to expand the base of Central government’s public welfare schemes such as Ujwala Yojana, etc, and increased interaction with party leaders. Currently, he has focused on solving the garbage problem of the city.
BJP insiders further said that after getting Mundhe elected as the PMPML chief, Shirole is now trying to get another good officer as the municipal commissioner, as there are many important projects in the city like the 24x7 water supply, the river restoration programme, etc.
At present, Pune District Guardian Minister Girish Bapat is looking after the city’s affair. However, the way Shirole is silently pulling strings in vital matters such as appointments of IAS officers and pushing development projects with the help of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Venkaiah Naidu, he would soon replace Bapat.