Mumbai: Wankhede swearing-in cost bankrupt state Rs 1 crore, reveals RTI

The grand oath-taking ceremony of the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government on October 31 last year racked up bills of Rs 98.33 lakh, an RTI query has revealed

The lavish swearing-in ceremony of the BJP government at Wankhede Stadium on October 31 last year ended up costing close to Rs 1 crore to the already broke state treasury, an RTI query has revealed. Meanwhile, the BJP, which promised to share cost for the ceremony that could not be borne by the state, has still not disclosed the information of its expenses.

Around 50,000 people were present at the stadium to witness the oath- taking ceremony of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and nine ministers. File pic
Around 50,000 people were present at the stadium to witness the oath- taking ceremony of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and nine ministers. File pic

In reply to the query, the General Administration Department (GAD) said that the government received bills to the tune of R98.33 lakh, which includes the cost of availing security apparatus at the venue where more than 50,000 people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, witnessed the oath-taking ceremony of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and his nine ministers.

Under Secretary (Protocol) S G Moghe informed RTI activist Anil Galgali that the department has received two bills from the Public Works Department Rs 67,00,660 and Rs 30,60,670. In addition, the GAD is also expected to pay R72,500 for providing security screening equipment.

According to Moghe, till January 19, the state has not paid these bills. The Mumbai Cricket Association did not charge the government any rent for the stadium. Galgali claims that the Mumbai unit of the BJP has not yet responded to his query about the amount spent by the party.

“Mumbai BJP unit has failed to even acknowledge the query put forth by me, let alone replying to it. Since the party talks about a clean and transparent administration, it should declare the amount on its website for all to see,” said Galgali.

The other side
BJP president of Mumbai unit, Ashish Shelar, said, “No political party is covered under the RTI (Act). The event was held by the party, in collaboration with the government, only to be able to accommodate a large number of party workers, who wanted to witness the swearing-in ceremony. The state has put the expenditure on record. Raising unnecessary doubts is not good (RTI) activism.”

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