Public money funded dinner at 2013 BJP meet: AAP

Panaji, Oct 21 (IANS) A private dinner for BJP leaders during a 2013 national executive meet here where Narendra Modi was anointed the party’s face for the 2014 general elections was paid for by the state chequer, the AAP alleged on Wednesday and sought a CAG probe into the affair.

A statement issued by the AAP, quoting details sought under the Right to Information (RTI) act, has questioned the use of public money to shell out the Rs 6.37 lakh spent on the dinner for the national executive members on the night of June 8 at a five-star hotel in Panaji.

“With the Vigilance Department under the control of the BJP-led government, it is necessary that the said expenses of the Goa government are also investigated by the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG), for a more thorough and fair probe,” Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Goa ad-hoc Secretary Valmiki Naik said.

The Goa BJP, however, clarified the state exchequer footed the bill because chief ministers of other BJP-ruled states had also attended the event.

It was at the crucial meet in Panaji in 2013 that decks within the party were cleared for Modi, the then Gujarat chief minister, to become the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee, after he was formally appointed head of the party’s 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign committee.

The AAP, however, says that the BJP’s meet was the party’s internal affair and not a state event, which made the expenditure of public money questionable.

“The private party-related expense was foisted on the people of Goa, despite the fact that the state was already facing a financial crunch due to loss of mining revenue,” Naik said in a statement.

Reacting to AAP’s charge, BJP state vice president Wilfred Misquita said: “At the meet there were ministers as well as chief ministers of other states. Protocol demands that the state government host these officials. If you have a dinner for them, the state pays for it other guests also are invited.”

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