NCP-Cong slugfest at women’s function

Differences between alliance partners NCP and Congress surfaced at the inauguration of a women's festival organised by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Friday, with the event turning into a virtual slugfest.

It was triggered when NCP MP Supriya Sule, about to light the lamp to inaugurate the festival, was requested by Congress corporator Sunanda Gadale to wait for Congress MP Rajani Patil to arrive.

At this, Sule reportedly refused to inaugurate the event.

Mayor Vaishali Bankar of the NCP argued with Gadale over the issue and asked her to apologise to Sule but Gadale refused. Congress MP Patil, who had arrived by then, requested Sule to jointly inaugurate the festival by lighting the lamps.

However, things did not end there. Apparently to express her displeasure after the festival was inaugurated, Sule sat on the second row on the dais, some of those who attended the event said later.

During the address by the leaders, Sule said it was NCP chief Sharad Pawar who made 33 per cent reservation (later it was hiked to 50 per cent) for women in local bodies possible. Congress MP Patil, apparently in a bid to give credit to her party, said the decision of reservation for women was taken by former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and that Pawar was the CM of the state then. The Congress MP went on to state that the NCP city chief Vandana Chavan was made the mayor earlier by the Congress.

However, when contacted, mayor Bankar refused to comment on the issue. She said nothing of the sort had happened.

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