Ajit Pawar's austerity talks fell on deaf ears?

At a time when several parts in the state are experiencing a drought-like situation and the state government announced Rs 10 crore relief package to tackle the situation in Pune division, it has been learnt that the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) splurged lakhs on lavish buffets at the two-day state meet in the city.

Sources from the party said the total expenditure on food, excluding breakfast and special food for people fasting, was about Rs 40 lakh. The lavish arrangement was in stark contrast to NCP leader Ajit Pawar’s speech, wherein he had appealed to supporters to cut down on expenses while organising events on the party’s behalf. But it appears that NCP’s city unit failed to pay heed to Pawar’s words about observing austerity while organising events on the party’s behalf.

Gathered in numbers: NCP workers and supporters at the two-day state meet organised in Balewadi on Sunday. A total of 6,000 NCP supporters and mediapersons attended the event. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Around 6,000 NCP supporters and mediapersons attended the two-day event that concluded on Sunday. Those present at the event were served a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian food along with desserts that were loaded with dry fruits, on both the days.

In addition, participants observing fast for the ongoing navratri festival were served special food items. According to the caterers, who provided their services for the event, while the vegetarian thali was charged at Rs 300 per person, the organisers paid Rs 450 per person for non-vegetarian thali.

Party spokesperson for city unit Ankush Kakade, who organised the event, confirmed that about 6,000 NCP workers and supporters attended the two-day meet.  It should be noted that Bharatiya Janata Party, which conducted its national executive meet in Mumbai in May, kept the menu simple and without dessert. 

The other side
When Kakade was asked was it necessary to spend lakhs on food, especially when several regions in the state are facing drought-like situation, he said, “Such events are organised just once a year and therefore we didn’t want to compromise on hospitality from our end. Those who attended the event were our workers who take efforts to increase the strength of the party. Therefore they deserve such hospitality.”

The Menu For breakfast:  Kanda pohe, upma, sabudana vada and khir
For lunch:
Vegetarian: Four types of sabji, chapatti, paratha, jeera rice, pulao, daal, batata vada and samosas, papad and gulab jamun
Non-vegetarian: Chicken Korma, Chicken Biryani and Rumali roti 

Saturday’s menu
Kanda pohe, upma, sabudana vada and kheer

lunch Vegetarian dishes:
Four types of sabjis, chapatti, paratha, jeera rice, pulao, daal, batata vada, samosas, papad, rumali roti

Dessert Gulab jamun

Non-vegetarian dishes: Chicken korma and chicken biryani

Sunday special
Idli, vada-sambar and similar food items that were prepared on Saturday

Vegetarian dishes
Same as in Saturday’s menu 

Non-vegetarian dishes:
Chicken and mutton biryani, mutton kheema, fish fry, chicken manchurian (dry) 

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