States & UTs

    Smriti Irani faces Cong-NCP protests over price rise in Pune

    May17/ 2022
    Last Updated:

    Smriti Irani

    Mumbai: The Nationalist Congress Party's Pune city unit on Monday alleged an office-bearer of the party was assaulted by the Bharatiya Janata Party workers inside an auditorium during a face-off between the two sides when Union minister Smriti Irani was attending a book release event at the venue in Pune on Monday evening. The police said a probe was on into the alleged incident. The Congress and NCP workers staged protests against price rise outside a luxury hotel and the Bal Gandharva auditorium, where Irani attended events during her visit to the city. The two parties are constituents of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra. "One of our party functionaries, Vaishali Nagawade, was assaulted by BJP workers inside the auditorium when she and others went to give a memorandum (to the minister)," claimed Prashant Jagtap, Pune city NCP president.

    Some NCP members workers went to the Deccan Gymkhana police station to lodge a complaint against the BJP activists, he said.

    Speaking to reporters, Nagawade said the incident took place when she along with other NCP workers went to submit a memorandum to Irani over the LPG price hike.

    Senior NCP leader Ankush Kakade said when the BJP was in opposition at the Centre before 2014, Irani used to aggressively raise the price rise issue and his party was doing the same now.

    "When Irani was in a hotel for some event, our women party workers requested her to accept a memorandum but she refused. As a result, our women workers staged an intense agitation outside the hotel," he said.

    Kakade said the book launch event at the auditorium, organised by the BJP, was open to all.

    "Our four party functionaries, including Vaishali Nagawade, had gone inside the auditorium. Some BJP workers said they are from NCP and started heckling them, and assaulted Nagawade. Had the police not intervened in time, things would have turned really ugly," he said.

    Kakade said the police should investigate the incident thoroughly and take stringent action against the culprits.

    Murlidhar Karpe, senior inspector, Deccan police station, said four women workers of the NCP had come to attend the programme and they were identified by BJP workers which led to some tension.

    He said these women were escorted out by police after commotion inside the auditorium.

    Asked about allegations of heckling and assault, Karpe said a probe was on.

    Congress workers staged protests and shouted slogans against the Centre over the price rise issue during the visit of Irani.

    "Around 12 noon, Pune city women Congress committee members staged a protest (outside the hotel) over inflation and rising prices of LPG. Since the central government has failed to check inflation in the country, the women members had gone to present bangles to Union minister Smriti Irani," said a party functionary.

    The protesting Congress members were detained by police and later released, he said.

    Later in the evening, Congress activists held a demonstration over soaring prices of essential goods outside the Bal Gandharva auditorium. Pune city Congress president Ramesh Bagwe said, "We shouted slogans against the rising prices and showed placards standing outside the auditorium."

    Irani attended the release of Marathi version of a book on the political journey of Union Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah. The English version of the book is titled 'Amit Shah and the March of BJP'.—PTI