Panaji: The Congress on Sunday took objection to the proposed grand public celebration of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s 60th birthday, accusing him and the BJP of being insensitive to Chennai floods which claimed around 325 lives.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary Girish Chodankar accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government of using state machinery to collect “Rs.10-15 crore” to be spent on Parrikar’s “birthday bash”, to be held at the Gymkhana ground in Panaji on December 13.
“At a time, when the country is reaching out for the victims of the Chennai floods, our defence minister and the BJP are planning the birthday bash of the decade which is going to cost around Rs.15-20 crore,” Chodankar told media persons at the state Congress headquarters here.
“How can a defence minister celebrate his birthday in such a lavish style,” he said.
The Congress leader also demanded that instead of spending the money on the birthday, the BJP should spend it towards providing relief to the people of Chennai.
The BJP, however, claimed that the birthday celebration was a much belated public felicitation of Parrikar, a former Goa chief minister, on his elevation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led cabinet.
Speaking to reporters, state BJP president Vinay Tendulkar defended the party’s decision to host a public felicitation of Parrikar, who was elected to the Goa legislative assembly on five consecutive occasions for the Panaji seat.
“Bhai (Parrikar) is our seniormost leader. He has reached this height because of his achievements. We want to felicitate him because he is now the country’s defence minister … besides, he has done and continues to do so much for the BJP, Goa and India,” Tendulkar said.
He said that between 20,000 to 25,000 guests were expected to attend the birthday function, which would also be attended by several ministers in the Modi cabinet.