“Its natural,” says BJP spokesperson Virendar Bisht after RTI query revealed that Uttarakhand chief ministerspent Rs 68,59,865 from the exchequer for buying snacks for his guests.
"Such expenses are natural as most of the Janta Darbar & official meetings take place at CM office. But, if they go beyond a limit then it's matter of concern,” ANI quoted Bisht.
In September 2016, a similar RTI reply had revealed that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his 6-member cabinet spent over a crore Rupees on tea and snacks entertaining guests in 18 months. The opposition BJP had called it samosa scam. BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga put up posters across the city.
Backing Trivendra Singh Rawat, chief minister’s media in-charge Darshan Singh Rawat also said, "In the past 10 months, we have spent up to Rs 50 lakh on refreshments… Many big meets were organised at the chief minister’s residence in the past months, so the expenditure is justified".
In a letter dated January 22, additional secretary (secretariat administration) Vinod Raturi told RTI activist Hemant Singh that Rs 68,59,865 had been spent on ‘chai paani’ (tea and refreshments) since Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Trivendra Singh Rawat assumed the chief minister’s office on March 18, 2017.
A break-up of the expenses suggests that an average of Rs 22,000 was spent per day on entertaining about 150-200 guests.
The chief minister’s office, however, said the amount spent on refreshments was Rs 50,38,880 — Rs 33,85,791 at CM’s residence and Rs 16,53,089 at his office.