1.3 Lakh A Day? Devendra Fadnavis Must Explain “Chai Pe Kharcha”: Congress

According to an RTI query, the amount spent on tea in the office of Devendra Fadnavis in 2016-17 was R
s.
1,20,92,972. That amount jumped to R
s.
3,34,64,905 the next year.

The Congress has alleged a ‘chai scam’ in Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s office after an RTI reply showed a surge in the money spent on serving tea. The RTI or Right To Information petition was filed by youth congress leader Nikhil Kamble.

“The Chief Minister is only doing chai pe charcha (a term coined by the BJP for its hugely successful voter outreach in 2014 inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tea-selling past) but no real work,” said Mumbai Congress Chief Sanjay Nirupam.

According to an RTI query, the amount spent on tea in the office of Devendra Fadnavis in 2016-17 was R
s.
1,20,92,972. That amount jumped to R
s.
3,34,64,905 the next year.

The amount spent on tea every month was R
s.
27,88,742, which translates to R
s.
92,958 a day.

Mr Nirupam said: “If the cost of tea is R
s.
5 per cup, then 18,591 cups of tea was consumed – if we are to go by the figure.”

If there are 252 working days in a year, taking into account holidays and weekends, then R
s.
1,32,801 was spent on tea per day. And if the cost of tea is R
s.
5 per cup then 26,650 cups of tea were consumed, according to the RTI information, Mr Nirupam goes on to calculate.

“It’s a scam. How is it possible that so many cups of tea were consumed?” said the Mumbai Congress chief, demanding an investigation into the “chai pe kharcha”. “Tea was not served but only bills were generated,” he alleged.

The BJP retorted that the increased spending on tea was a measure of the Chief Minister’s greater popularity compared to Congress ministers in the past.
Besides, it’s not just tea, added BJP leader Ram Kadam. “This amount includes the cost of tea, snacks, bouquets and mementoes for guests who visit the Chief Minister,” he told reporters.

Mr Kadam offered another reason for the hike in tea bills for the Chief Minister’s office. “Earlier all departments used to pay for tea and snacks expenses for meetings. Now for all meetings held in the CM’s office, the bills are paid by the CM’s office,” he told reporters.

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