Panaji: The Congress today appealed to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to cancel his “lavish” birthday bash being organised by the BJP on December 13 and instead use the money to help victims of Chennai floods.
However, the BJP has defended the move, saying the bash is in fact the “much-delayed” public felicitation of the former chief minister after he was elevated as Defence Minister.
“The Goa chief minister and members of his cabinet are mobilising money and manpower to celebrate the Defence Minister’s 60th birthday. Government machinery is being used to collect donations for the birthday bash. This is precious waste of resources which are meant for public good,” claimed AICC secretary Girish Chodankar.
He alleged the birthday celebrations are going to be a “vulgar” show of wealth and power.
“Parrikar should ask his party to spend it (money) for Tamil Nadu flood victims and on the welfare of thousands of people who have lost their jobs with mining gone in Goa,” the Congress leader said.
He alleged that the BJP-led coalition government in Goa was using the state machinery to collect Rs 10-15 crore which would be spent on the bash scheduled to be held at Gymkhana ground here on next Sunday.
“How can a Defence minister celebrate his birthday in such a lavish style when agencies of his ministry are engaged in relief and rescue work in Chennai, where the situation continues to be grim and people are losing hope.
“People in Goa dependent on mining are facing immense hardship because mining work has not yet started. The tourism industry is also facing a slump. Is there a reason to celebrate lavishly,” Chodankar questioned.
He said the BJP should deposit the money into the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund so that “it can be used judiciously towards providing relief to citizens of Chennai”.
Meanwhile, State unit BJP president Vinay Tendulkar has justified the move to felicitate Parrikar who had been elected to the Legislative Assembly on five consecutive terms from Panaji Assembly constituency.
“Bhai (Parrikar) is our senior-most leader. He has
reached this height because of his achievements. We want to felicitate him because he is now the country’s Defence minister,” Tendulkar told reporters.
He said about 25,000 guests are expected to attend the birthday function, which would also include Central ministers.