Mumbai: The Congress on Monday accused Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis of "cold shouldering" its request seeking stay for the party vice-president Rahul Gandhi at state guest house here during his recent visit to the city, a charge denied by the CM.
"The BJP has now started to indulge in the lowest level of politics. We had written a letter to Devendra Fadnavis to allow Rahul Gandhi ji, who was on a two-day visit to Mumbai, to reside in Sahyadri State Guest House. But, despite our requests, there was no response from either the CM or his office," Mumbai unit Congress president Sanjay Nirupam told reporters yesterday.
He said the incident was "very unfortunate and a serious lapse".
"I condemn the CM's behaviour. While the Prime Minister talks of digital India, the CM has failed to even reply to an e-mail," Nirupam said.
However, Fadnavis told PTI that a suite was in fact kept reserved for Gandhi at the guest house but the latter failed to turn up.
"The Protocol department had booked a suite for Rahul Gandhi for January 14 and the concerned people had been apprised about it. We had made arrangements for his (Rahul's) security contingent as well. But, he failed to turn up at the Sahyadri Guest House," Fadnavis said.
Nirupam also alleged that the BJP turned Gandhi's "apolitical" discussion with students of a Mumbai college into "political" one with the BJP workers "chanting" slogans in Modi's name.
"We condemn the incident of BJP workers shouting slogans glorifying Modi. This programme was apolitical. The CM should take this issue very seriously and ensure that in future, his party plays politics that has a certain standard," the Congress leader said.
Dismissing the Congress' allegation, BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said the opposition party was trying to deflect attention of their "high command" from the incident "wherein thieves it had gathered at their rally stole valuables of their own leaders".
"The Congress had gathered thieves in their rally who stole away valuables of their own leaders. In order to shift focus away from this incident, they are levelling baseless allegations," Bhandari said.
He said the allegations are devoid of truth. "If they wanted the State Guest House, they are aware of the process. They could have booked it well in advance. They are trying to hide their own faces from their party high command by leveling allegations on us," he added.
During his two-day visit to city on January 15-16, Gandhi participated in a padyatra where he addressed party workers and separately interacted with college students."It is baseless to claim that Gandhi wasn't allotted accommodation," the CMO stated in a release.
Suite 104 was reserved for Rahul Gandhi after MRCC (Mumbai Regional Congress Committee) requested the government, the statement added.
Gandhi had stayed in a private accommodation in suburban Bandra during his visit.