The Metro inauguration had been a bone of contention among the BJP, the Congress and the NCP, with each of them trying to take credit for the project. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday will lay the foundation stone for the third line of the Pune Metro rail project, at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Sports complex in Balewadi.

The 23.3 km stretch will bridge the city’s bustling information technology quarter in Hinjewadi with the equally heavy traffic Shivajinagar area. The line is being developed by the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) on the Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) basis at an estimated cost of Rs. 8,313 crore.

Mr. Modi will reach the city in the evening after attending a number of programmes in Mumbai and Kalyan in the day.

The BJP’s Pune unit is making full preparations for his visit.

“It is an important occasion for the development of Pune. More than 30,000 party workers and constituents from Pune district’s four Lok Sabha segments and 11 Assembly segments – eight in Pune city and three in Pimpri-Chinchwad – are expected to be present at the event,” said a city BJP leader.

Past visits

This will be Mr. Modi’s fourth visit to the city since he became Prime Minister in 2014. 

In July 2016, he launched 14 projects for the city under the ‘Smart City’ scheme from the same venue in Balewadi.

In November 2016, he shared the dais with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. He was invited by Mr. Pawar at the Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) – an autonomous cane growers’ body headed by the Maratha strongman.

In December 2016, Mr. Modi laid the foundation stone for the Pune Metro rail project just ahead of the crucial civic polls to the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies.

The Metro inauguration had been a bone of contention among the BJP, the Congress and the NCP, with each of them trying to take credit for the project. 

The Congress and the NCP had alleged that the Centre’s sanction of the project prior to the civic polls smacked of political expediency.

And Mr. Modi had said that had the project been sanctioned earlier (by the Congress-NCP administration), then “the citizens of Pune wouldn’t have had to endure regular traffic snarls”.

The poll results in February 2017 saw the BJP sweeping both the municipal corporations – where they were hitherto in a minority – by unprecedented landslide wins and wresting control of the city’s urban pockets from the NCP and the Congress.

 

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