Nashik, Nov 28 (UNI) President Pratibha Patil today inaugurated the Nashik Festival, the cultural event organised to celebrate the silver jubilee year of the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC), here.
Mr Patil also inaugurated the Yashwantrao Chavan Planetarium and Science Centre of the NMC, situated on the Nashik-Trimabkeshwar Road, from the venue of the programme by a remote control.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh presided over the programme. Nashik district Guardian Minister and state PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, Shiv Sena working president Uddhav Thackeray, BJP national general secretary Gopinath Munde were the guests of honour on the occasion. Mrs Patil's husband Devisingh Shekhawat was also present on the occasion.
A civic felicitation of the President was also held by the NMC on the occasion. She was given a citation written on a silver sheet and a memento, silver idol of Kodanddhari Ram (Lord Ram with an Arch) on the occasion.
''I am overwhelmed with joy on seeing the sapling planted by me turning into a fully-grown tree,'' said the President while referring to her association with the city. She hoped that Nashik would continue the progress in future also. Mrs Patil was the Town Planning Minister when the Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) came into existence on November 7, 1982 and was one of the mentors of the NMC.
The President also emphasised Nashik's religious, geographical, industrial and educational importance on the occasion. She also thanked the denizens for their respect and love with which they treated her during her visit.
''I am overwhelmed with joy for the love and respect you gave me during my visit. This treasure of your love will be useful for me to perform my duties as President and I will not forget this,'' she said.
Mr Munde said politics should not become an obstacle in development of the city and stated the role of the Mumbai-Nashik road in the latter's development. He assured his party's co-operation for Nashik's development on the occasion.
Shiv Sena working president Uddhav Thackeray demanded formation of an Authority for the development of Nashik and said its reins should be handed over to the NMC.
He appealed to all the politicians present on the occasion to express their commitment to the people and to make use of power for development. He also expressed the BJP-Shiv Sena's commitment for the development of Nashik. He expressed his joy over having a Marathi-speaking President and hoped that when the NMC would celebrate its Golden Jubilee, there would be a Maharashtrian President too.
Guardian Minister Chhagan Bhujbal expressed joy over the rapid development of Nashik but cautioned that this progress should not hamper the city's culture. This growth should be positive, the Minister said.
A souvenir depicting the NMC's journey of 25 years was released by the hands of Pratibha Patil on the occasion.
Meanwhile, the President left for the Ojhar airport directly from Dadasaheb Gaikwad auditorium, the venue of the programme, to proceed towards New Delhi.