Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Governor B S Koshyari, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and former CM Devendra Fadnavis, at the Pune airport on Friday night. (Express photo/Ashish Kale)
Hours before the first meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Pune since the latter took over as Maharashtra chief minister, a controversy started brewing over the list of leaders who were invited to receive the Prime Minister at the city airport as per protocol. The list of leaders only comprised BJP legislators and didn’t have anyone from the NCP, which has a significant presence in Pune.
Modi, who will address the ongoing all India IG-DG conference in Pune on Saturday, arrived in the city late on Friday. He was received at the airport by Thackeray, former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and other BJP leaders from the city.
Shah addressed the conference on Friday.
Expressing the NCP’s unhappiness with the situation, party’s city chief and MLA Chetan Tupe said, “We were informed by the Chief Minister’s Office that all the legislators and the member of Parliament from the city have been invited to receive the Prime Minister. However, it was later communicated that the Prime Minister’s Office has issued a list of leaders who will receive the Prime Minister at the Pune international airport”.
“We have learnt that only legislators of BJP were made part of the protocol team, which received the Prime Minister, and that is completely wrong,” he added.
Since this was not a BJP function and the Prime Minister was in Pune for an official visit, all legislators should have been included in the protocol team, said Tupe.
Sunil Tingre, NCP MLA from Vadgaonsheri, said the Pune international airport was part of his constituency but he was not included in the protocol team to receive the Prime Minister. “I managed to get a pass to receive the chief minister but was informed by the district administration that only BJP legislators and leaders were included in the protocol team for the PM,” he said.
BJP leader and Shivajinagar MLA Siddarth Shirole was among the BJP leaders who received the PM. “I was informed that I was part of the protocol team,” said Shirole.
BJP corporator and next leader of the House in Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Dhiraj Ghate, said he had been informed that he will be part of the team that will be seeing off the Prime Minister on Saturday.
A senior Shiv Sena legislator said there was no communication about inclusion of party leaders in the protocol team to receive the Prime Minister. “We met the chief minister, who visited the city for the first time since taking over the post,” he said.