Dy. Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal arrived at Mumbai Pune Expressway for the official naming ceremony of Mumbai Pune Expressway as “Yaswantrao Chavan Marg”. While the naming ceremony looked like an election stunt, Shiv Sainiks added to the drama by staging protest at the ceremony venue. It could have been one of the simple ceremonies of the many that are lined up to mark “Suvarna Mahotsav” celebrations of the state. The ruling front had approved a proposal in the state assembly to name the Mumbai Pune Expressway after the 1st Chief Minister of Maharashtra late Yashwantrao Chavan. The Shiv Sena party has been protesting this decision demanding that the Expressway be named after late P L Deshpande. The Shiv Sena has staged several protests in the past to voice their opposition against the name selected by the state. And the opposition ensued even during the official naming ceremony of expressway at Kalamboli. Even as Shiv Sainiks headed by MLA Devendra Satam raised slogans at the venue, Dy. Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal arrived with a host of senior state ministers to officially perform the ceremony. Following, this the dignitaries present addressed a small gathering at the expressway site. The event saw the participation of PWD Minister Vimaltai Mundada, Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Ajit Dada Pawar, former Home Minister R R Patil, Energy Minister Sunil Tatkare, MLA Rajan Raje Nimbalkar, MP Dr. Sanjeev Naik and Commissioner of Police Gulabrao Pol. In wake of Shiv Sena’s opposition, the leaders who addressed the gathering justified the state’s decision to name the Expressway after the 1st Chief Minister of Maharashtra stating that late Yashwantrao Chavan had played a pioneering role in leading Maharashtra towards industrial, social, cultural and economic development. Attacking the Shiv Sena for opposing the name. Dy. Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal said that those who were protesting the name of man of the stature of Yashwantrao Chavan would be taught a lesson by the people of Maharashtra. He reiterated the same while speaking to the media later. The drama that ensued between the ruling and opposition over the naming of the Expressway once again exposes the deteriorating levels of politics in the country. There’s no disputing the contributions and work of both Yashwantrao Chavan and P L Deshpande but playing politics on names is going against the principles of these very leaders themselves. It’s a wonder why the Shiv Sena did not name the expressway when their government had built it. It’s also a wonder that if the senior NCP leaders are so proud of their decision to name the expressway as a tribute to the work of late Yashwantrao Chavan, then why did the NCP Supremo Sharad Pawar – who was the Chief Guest for the ceremony failed to make it to the event. All this but compels one to believe that the naming and opposition is but a political drama in lieu of the upcoming assembly elections. With Anil More, Zeba Warsia for NMTV News.
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