PANAJI: The Congress today criticised Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar for distributing sarees to women in his constituency ahead of the state polls due in March next year. However, the CM said the saree distribution had nothing to do with elections, and that it was an "age-old tradition".
Addressing a press conference here, Goa Congress unit spokesman Ramakant Khalap alleged that Parsekar distributed 15,000 sarees to women in his Mandrem constituency. "The sarees were distributed in each and every household in the constituency which has 50 per cent female voters," Khalap said.
He claimed that "many women rejected the gift while few burnt it (saree) along with the effigy of demon Narakasur (which is burnt on the eve of Diwali)". The Congress demanded an inquiry by Enforcement Directorate or Anti-Corruption Bureau into the distribution of these doles ahead of the elections. When asked for his reaction on the allegations, Parsekar said it is an age old tradition he has been following to distribute sarees to his sisters in the constituency.
"I have distributed sarees in my personal capacity. It's an age-old tradition that I distribute sarees during Diwali," the chief minister said. Parsekar said the saree packet did not have any party symbol nor they were distributed in his capacity as the chief minister. "I don't know from where this figure of 15,000 sarees has come from. I can't tell the exact figure as I have given gift to my sisters," he said. Responding to the demand for an inquiry, the CM said he did not distribute the sarees in dark, or hiding from the agencies.