Dissent is not for this UPA-led democracy. Angry, young Congress men on Monday swamped a popular restaurant in Parel, opposite KEM Hospital, because the owner had started printing ‘defamatory’ material against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) central government on food bills.
Around 30 to 35 workers of the Indian Youth Congress -- which is chaired by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi -- approached the restaurant, Aditi Pure Veg, around 3 pm. Led by Ganesh Kumar Yadav, city president of the party’s youth wing, and party MLA Kalidas Kolambkar, they approached the hotel and asked the owner to shut shop.
The marching orders for the swoop down came from the party headquarters in Delhi, said Congress workers, and after receiving them, they clamped down on the restaurant and later approached the Bhoiwada police against the businessman for defamation.
“Some of the Congress workers who had come to KEM Hospital had food at Aditi. They saw the hotel owner had printed defamatory material against the ruling alliance and wrote to the Congress party leaders in Delhi, who then diverted the matter to us,” said Pratik A Nakate, president, Wadala assembly of Mumbai Pradesh Youth Congress.
“So our Youth Congress workers approached the restaurant and demanded its closure and asked for an apology. We have informed the Bhoiwada police about it,” said Omshree Kadam, secretary of south-central district Congress committee.
The food bills that patrons of the eatery located on Dr E Borges Road in Parel received came printed with a witticism the owner had come up with:
‘As per UPA government, eating money (2G, Coal, CWG scam) is a necessity and eating food in an AC restaurant is a luxury,’ read the bill receipts on their underside.
The Congress workers, who failed to see the wit when first served the bill, of course, had the last laugh, when cops slapped the proprietor, Srinivas Shetty, with an NC. The central government introduced service tax on eating at air-conditioned restaurants in recent years, aggravating restaurateurs and customers, who ultimately end up footing the extra cost.
Said an officer from Bhoiwada police station, “We have registered a non-cognisable complaint (NC) against the restaurant for printing matter known to be defamatory (Section 501 of IPC) and have settled the matter for now. The restaurant owner has promised that he will not circulate those bills now.”
Youth Congress leaders expressed surprise that despite all the work they put in for the greater good of the people, some failed to notice it. “We are doing such good work in our areas as part of the Youth Congress and such comments de-motivate people from joining the party.
The owner might have his issues but he should fight them in a legal way rather than defaming the party for some people’s corruption,” said Sandeep Pansade, general secretary, south-central region of Youth Congress.