After the Burari Plenary Session on 28/12/2010, the All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi addressed a official note to all Pradesh Congress Committee presidents through their respective Desk-in-Charge across the country; in the official note signed by the AICC president, it states, “A letter to the PCC Presidents for the States under your charge on the issue of simplicity and austerity and avoidance of vulgar display of wealth and waste.”
This was further streamlined to accommodate even accommodation and travel agendas of members and representatives of the Congress party. According a senior leader of AICC, “It was decided that senior members of the party or representatives would not stay a five-star accommodations as well as when travelling locally they would travel economy class or if there is need to travel on a foreign trip then they would travel on business and not first class.”
These directions where sent to all PCC presidents through their respective Desk-in-Charge. According to GPCC vice-president, “We did receive an austerity measures official note from AICC president and we were asked to adhere to it.”
Even GoaChronicle.com spoke to Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, he confirmed that ministers from the Congress party were asked to adhere to austerity measures and accommodation/travel plans were a part of these measures.
However, it appears that the AICC Goa Desk-in-Charge Jagmeet Singh Brar, general secretary, Sudhakar Reddy and Goa Pradesh Congress Committee president Subhash Shirodkar have turned a blind eye and a deaf year to the official note of the AICC president and violated the guidelines set by AICC towards the austerity measures.
Luxury Suite Stay for Brar
In the last three official visits to Goa, Brar and Reddy were housed at the luxury suite at the Taj Exotica. The tariff for a day for this accommodation is Rs 50,000 as per the Taj Hotels website and comes with a personal swimming pool.
When GoaChronicle.com spoke to few GPCC senior members who visited Brar at the hotel they confirmed that Brar was indeed staying at the luxury suite with had a private swimming pool.
The average stay of Brar and Reddy were for three days at the hotel during each visit. Most meetings with GPCC members were conducted at the hotel itself.
No bill to GPCC yet
When GoaChronicle.com spoke to the vice-president of GPCC, on condition of anonymity, he told us that so far GPCC has not received any bill from the Taj Exotica hotel for the last three stays of Brar and Reddy.
However, GoaChronicle.com has learnt through reliable sources that the probability of GPCC getting a bill is rare, since the senior leaders of the High Command were housed at the Taj Exotica by the Public Works Department minister Churchill Alemao.
If GPCC has indeed agreed to host Brar and Reddy at the Taj Exotica then it is clear violation and disregard of the Official Note of the AICC president Sonia Gandhi which was issued to all PCC presidents through their respective Desk-in-Charge. And it poses a serious question of the GPCC president Subhash Shirodkar on whether he deliberately violated the ‘austerity measure’ official note of the AICC president.
If GPCC however, have not received the bill and will not be paying for the bill, then besides violating the austerity measures of the Congress party, it appears that the Desk-in-Charge has been staying at the Taj Exotica on the behest of the PWD Minister Churchill Alemao and thereby further indulging in partisan politics and taken favors from a single politician of the Congress party when on a official party visit to the state, which we have learnt through our sources in the high command of the Congress party has not been appreciated by the AICC president.
A GPCC member has filed a complaint to the AICC president Sonia Gandhi on the issue of Brar showing favoritism to a certain section of the political class in Goa and even making contradictory statements to the party policies and protocols when announcing about name of 20 of candidates in the first list and even tickets to family members.
When GoaChronicle.com spoke to a wide section of GPCC members many were disappointed about the actions of the Goa Desk-in-Charge Jagmeet Singh Brar. We also learnt that the previous Desk-in-Charge Hariprasad initially used to stay at the Cidade de Goa, however when the austerity measure circular was brought into force, he was compelled to stay at the International Centre.
With Brar being a senior member of the AICC and with an added responsibility of Desk-in-Charge of Goa, the actions adopted by him raises serious question on the much hyped austerity drive of the Congress party. Since even if the local GPCC did indeed violate the official note of the AICC president, as a senior leader of the High Command, he could have insisted to a change in venue in keeping with the orders of the AICC president; but he preferred to accept to be hosted at the Taj Exotica.
If however the words of a senior leader and party spokesperson of GPCC is to be believed that neither GPCC nor the Congress Minister who hosted Brar and Reddy need to worry about the bill, since the hotel in most cases does not present the Congress Minister Churchill Alemao a bill. Hence, raising serious questions to the possibility that senior leaders of the Congress party have stayed the Taj Exotica for free.