Friday, April 12, 2019

People eager for change, says Cong candidate Joshi

Lok Sabha elections 2019


PUNE: Senior Congressman from the city and party candidate for Pune Lok Sabha elections Mohan Joshi interacted with Reporter.

There is a strong demand for change in Pune, right from the common man to the business community. People are fed up of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. While campaigning in the city, I am getting these reactions from the people. Residents are eager for change and I can sense it. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate is now tired and I have taken the lead in the first phase of poll campaign. The Bharatiya Janata Party government has done nothing in the last five years, Girish Bapat is the speed breaker in Pune’s development. Pune is a non-capital, yet one of the fast-growing cities in the country city. So, my vision is to make Pune a high-tech city considering its growing young population.

Talking about the top four points on the agenda about Pune in his polling campaign, he said that - My top focus is on the youth and students in our city, followed by safety of women, environment and traffic situation. All these are serious issues of Pune which needs to be addressed. Pune has become an international educational hub and students from across the globe come here to study. However, students from Pune after graduation want to go to any institute like Indian Institute of Management (IIM) or pursue postgraduate courses outside the city. Hence, more government institutions should be set up in the city as many students cannot afford the hefty fees of private institutions. Efforts should be made to create more employment avenues in the city.

While women work at par with men at workplace, their safety should be top priority. Steps should be taken to reduce the city’s crime rate. Ineffective water management has left residents to face weekly water cuts. So, my effort will be to look at and improve every sector in Pune.

When asking ,what the most serious issue facing Pune now, Mohan Joshi said that traffic problem is the main issue in the city and the BJP government has failed to address it. The solution is sustainable public transport. When I was a member of legislative assembly (MLA), I took up the ‘Mission PMPML’ initiative for one year. Today, as there is no good quality buses and poor service, people prefer to use personal vehicles.

A no-nonsense official like Tukaram Mundhe, who was serving as the chairman and managing director of Pune Municipal Transport Corporation Limited (PMPML), was transferred by the BJP government in short time. Route rationalisation, maintenance of buses and upgrade of depots are needed, which we will do after coming to power. Metro is a necessity, but huge amount of funds are invested in the project.

The Metro plan was Congress’ project, but its execution started only after the BJP government came to power in the state and centre.

No, I always followed up of the project and its permission was given during the Congress rule. On the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) level, its detailed project report (DPR) was also chalked out during the Congress period. So, BJP is responsible for its delay, as BJP Pune MP Anil Shirole opposed its layout at that time. Nagpur Metro is functional, but Pune is lagging behind. The reason is chief minister Devendra Fadnavis holds grudge against Pune and Bapat.

While the bus rapid transit system (BRTS) launch timing was wrong for us, so BJP went ahead with the pilot project. Many controversies happened, but the BJP government didn’t address it. Metro cannot be the only solution to Pune’s traffic issue.

Answering the statements of other leaders that Congress lost ground in the city in the last few years, Mohan Joshi said, It is not right to say that Congress’ popularity has gone down in Pune. When Suresh Kalmadi was an active politician, he used to focus in Delhi and being a Rajya Sabha member of Parliament (MP), I used to concentrate in Pune. Many projects happened when Kalmadi was Pune’s MP. People need a face and I am the face of Pune Congress, everyone recognises me. People trust me and I will win this election.

When asking, how are you going to fulfil the promises made by Congress in national manifesto and your assurance to take steps to provide job opportunities for youth, Joshi said, “I will not be giving assurances, but work on options that are feasible and workable. The things which can be worked out only will be included in my Pune manifesto, which will be released soon.”

Joshi further said that BJP changing its Pune Lok Sabha candidate speaks volumes about Anil Shirole’s work. Now I have a burden on me, as Pune’s development stalled from 2014 and I need to bridge the gap. I need to prepare a development plan till 2024.


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