Pune: The bike rally organised by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) as a part of its programme to commemorate 125 years of Ganeshotsav in the city could hardly be called a ‘success’ as just around 100 to 150 people showed up for the event on Sunday.
In what came as a further embarassment to the ruling BJP in the PMC, the civic body had made arrangements expecting more than 1,000 participants and the breakfast arranged for them was later distributed to the needy via social organisations.
Many BJP corporators also decided to give this event a miss. A prominent absentee among them included Deputy Mayor of Pune Siddharth Dhende. While the PMC had carried out all the preparations for the event, going so far as arranging ‘phetas’, flags, etc. for the event, it’s being assumed that rains poured water over the arrangements and kept corporators from attending the rally. Even the four corporators in whose wards the rally was held did not show up.
In presence of a handful of corporators, Pune Mayor Mukta Tilak flagged off the rally, though it didn’t start at the promised time of 8 am, and Guardian Minister Girish Bapat, who had come for the inauguration, had to leave before the rally took off at around 9 am.
Aggressive campaigning was done by BJP to ensure all 98 of its corporators attend the rally, and also bring in five to six people with them so as to have a massive show of strength.
Special ‘phetas’ (traditional headgear) were brought for the corporators participating in the bike rally, which remained unused. The bike rally was the second of several events planned by PMC to mark 125 years of Ganeshotsav in Pune. The corporation has spent around Rs 2 crore over the celebrations.