Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam lashed out at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis Monday alleging that the latter indulged in “cheap politics” by not allowing Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to stay at the Sahyadri state guesthouse during his visit to the city last week.
Nirupam said several letters were sent to the Chief Minister’s Office requesting permission but yielded no response. “We wrote to the CM on January 11 and sent an email on January 12. But Fadnavis neither acknowledged it, nor responded to any requests made by us. It is very unfortunate. We condemn this,” Nirupam said while addressing a press conference.
As per rules, the chief minister can make an allotment at the Sahyadri guesthouse under his discretion.
During the previous regime, Nirupam said, the Congress-NCP combine routinely extended ‘state guest’ status to senior BJP leaders such as Lal Krishna Advani, Sushma Swaraj and others.
“We had not even demanded that the status of ‘state guest’ be given to Rahul Gandhi. He is an SPG protectee and therefore we had requested for his stay there and were ready to pay for it as per the norms. There was no such discrimination during our time,” said Nirupam.
He added, “On one hand, the BJP says we don’t cooperate with them and then they give us this kind of treatment.”
Nirupam also condemned BJP activists for allegedly shouting slogans in favour of Prime Minister Narandra Modi at the NM college event, where Rahul interacted with students, and termed it a “cheap” way to get publicity. “It was not a political event. We condemn such acts by the BJP activists. The BJP has stooped to a new low. The chief minister should seriously think over it and not indulge in such uncivilised politics,” said Nirupam.
An official from the CMO, however, termed the allegations “baseless”. “A suite (room 104) was reserved for Rahul Gandhi. The Mumbai Congress unit was also intimated about it. But he didn’t turn up,” said the official.