Pune: Lok Sabha MP Suresh Kalmadi on Wednesday expressed confidence that he would make a comeback with the 25th Pune Festival celebrations. He said that Union Minister Kapil Sibal would inaugurate the festival on September 13.
Addressing a press conference jointly with Hema Malini, who is the patron of Pune Festival and chairperson of the silver jubilee committee, and chief co-ordinator Krishnakant Kudale, Kalmadi said he was confident that he would make a comeback.
To a question whether the Pune Festival celebrations were being used to repair his image, Kalmadi said, “I have been improving my image for the past 25 years through this festival and I am not new to Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. I have been in the Parliament for the past 32 years now and the festival is being celebrated for 25 years now.”
To a comment that the festival’s inaugural programme seemed to be a gathering of Congress leaders, Kalmadi quipped, “Hema Malini, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, is the patron and also heads the silver jubilee celebrations committee.”
He made it clear that invitations had been sent to leaders of all parties as Pune Festival is for the people of Pune. “All are invited, now it is up to them to attend the function or not.”
He announced that the attractions this year would be Radha Rasbihari dance ballet by Hema Malini, Panchatatva by Pandit Jasraj, Hariprasad Chourasia, Selva Ganesh, U Shrinivas, Shridhar Parthasarathi, Ramkumar Mishra and Shubhankar Banerjee, along with Lalit Pandit night by Bollywood’s star singers Shaan and Bela Shende, Lavani Mahotsav, which would have Urmila Matondkar, Isha Kopikar and Varsha Usgaonkar along with other Marathi actresses. A Mushayara, Hasya Kavi Sammelan and Indradhanu, a programme by local artistes will also be part of the celebrations.
Bullock-cart race this year
In addition to the usual Vintage Car Rally, bullock cart races will be held this year, since Supreme Court has lifted the ban on such races. Already 1200 entries have come for the bullock-cart race. During the festival, Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal will be honoured for organising Sawai Gandharv Bhimsen Sangeet Mahotsav while a Ganesh Mandal from Camp area will be awarded for completing hundred years.