NCP questions need for I-Day dinner at luxury hotel

Aug 14, 2015, 08:25 IST | Dharmendra Jore

BJP hits back, saying that the former government, with the NCP as a partner, had also hosted the traditional dinner at a 5-star hotel in the past

The Nationalist Congress Party has accused the BJP-led government of promoting “five star culture” by hosting a dinner at a star hotel for the members of foreign consulates, state political leaders, state awardees and other dignitaries.

The BJP said it was a traditional annual dinner, which is held on August 13, two days before Independence Day, adding that such events were organised at a star hotel by the NCP-Congress governments as well.

Other than 109 members of various consulates in the city, the Governor, Chief Minister, heads of the two legislative houses, the Chief Justice and other judges of the Bombay High Court, Mayor, Deputy Mayor, all cabinet and junior ministers, opposition leaders, legislators and MPs from the city, along with serving IAS and IPS officers were invited to the dinner yesterday (August 13).

The persons who have been honoured with highest civilian award Bharat Ratna, Padma title winners, Arjuna award holders and freedom fighters are also invited by the State Protocol Department. All these people, with their spouses, are also invited to the Independence Day celebrations on August 15, in the morning and evening as well.

Invites for this year’s event to be held at Hotel Trident have been sent. NCP’s chief spokesperson Nawab Malik criticised the government’s luxury dinner. “The BJP is promoting a five star culture. This isn’t the way to celebrate Independence Day. A lot of taxpayers’ money is spent on such events. This must stop,” he told the media on Thursday.

BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye said that Malik should have checked the facts before making any comment. “Malik should know that this dinner is a distinguished event held as per protocol. It’s a tradition, even followed when his party the NCP and its ally the Congress were in power. The last two dinners were held at the Taj Hotel. Malik may verify this from government records.”

Upadhye wondered why the NCP leader had kept mum when his government too had hosted such dinners. “Being a legislator from the city he may also have attended these dinners. The recent dinners were in the year 2013 and 2014. Why was Malik mum then?” he asked.

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