Panaji, Dec 9 (IANS) On the backfoot following criticism by the opposition over elaborate preparations for the proposed 60th birthday bash for Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Wednesday said no government funds will be spent on the event.
Parsekar also told reporters in Panaji that legislators and cabinet ministers would contribute a day’s salary towards relief and rehabilitation of the flood-affected people in Chennai floods.
The Opposition demanded that the birthday celebrations on December 13 be scrapped and the money collected for the event be sent as Goa’s contribution for Chennai’s victims.
“No state government funds will be used for the birthday celebration. The public felicitation of Parrikar ji on his birthday is being organised by the BJP and our well wishers,” said Parsekar, who heads the 135-member organising committee.
According to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Goa unit, over 50,000 guests were expected to attend the birthday of Parrikar, the former Goa chief minister, on December 13 when he turns 60.
The guest list includes ministers in the National Democratic Alliance union government, all cabinet ministers in the BJP-coalition government in Goa and top industrialists from the state.
All India Congress Committee secretary Girish Chodankar has accused the BJP-led Goa government of allegedly using state machinery to collect “Rs.10-15 crore”, which he alleged was the amount which would be spent on the birthday bash at the Gymkhana ground in Panaji.
The Congress has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to order the BJP’s state unit to cancel the birthday party, in light of the tragedy in Chennai.
Parsekar on Wednesday, however, said his government was aware of the plight of the Chennai denizens and that his government had already opened a bank account, where those concerned could donate money towards the relief and rehabilitation effort.
“All MLAs and ministers in my cabinet have pledged one day’s salary for the Chennai effort. We have also opened an account with the State Bank of India — 35387615482 — in which people can contribute,” Parsekar said.
He also appealed to the public to donate money in the account, instead of publishing ads in newspaper to honour Parrikar on his birthday.