Congress action on 'anti-UPA' hotel boomerangs - The New Indian Express

Congress action on 'anti-UPA' hotel boomerangs

Published: 23rd July 2013 04:31 PM

Last Updated: 24th July 2013 12:27 AM

Aditi Hotel in Parel in central Mumbai till recently was an obscure South Indian eating joint. However overzealous Youth Congress leaders in Mumbai changed all that. The action by the Congress in Mumbai against the hotel has turned counter productive as the scanned image of the receipt with the 'defamatory' message became prominently featured on the social networking sites.

Youth Congress workers had led a protest march to the Aditi Hotel in Parel, Mumbai on learning that the hotel issued receipts with an 'defamatory' message against the UPA government. The message on the receipt said - “As per UPA govt eating money (2G, coal, CWG Scam) is a necessity & Eating food in AC restaurant is a luxury, the Congress workers in Maharashtra decided to teach him democracy congress style.” The Youth Congress workers forced the hotel to pull down its shutters and also booked the hotel owner Srinivas Shetty under section 501 of the IPC for printing defamatory matter. On Tuesday, the hotel opened but the receipt lacked the message that drew the ire of the Congress. Shetty was saved from immediate arrest as the section was non-cognisable, else he would found himself behind bars.

However, Congress's move appears to have boomeranged as social networking sites were ablaze with comments criticizing the Congress workers action and one of the tweets also gave the landline numbers of the restaurant for people to call and ask for home deliveries to express support to the restaurant.

Mumbai Youth Congress chief Ganesh Kumar Yadav said that the Youth Congress activists had merely resorted to democratic methods of protesting. “We informed the local police station and then went to the hotel to express our objection to the the defamatory action of the hotel management,” said Yadav.

He added that the Congress did not have any problem with the second part of the message on the hotel receipts, the objectionable portion was it claim which painted the UPA government as guilty in the 2G, Coal and CWG scams. “This matters are pending the court and before the court's decision any person saying this would amount to defamation,” said Yadav.

Indians Hotels and Restaurants Association, General Secretary Sudhakar Shetty said: “We believe that every citizen has a right to expression. What was written in the bill was what was being said by the common people. Our customers have been saying the same thing and are complaining to us. Srinivas Shetty expressed it in the bill. I do not know why such a big deal is being made out of it.”

The incident gave an opportunity for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to target the Congress which has been accusing him of being nonsecular. In response to the Congress action on the restaurant Modi tweeted : “Height of intolerance.”

Sate BJP Chief Devendra Phadnavis said, “ This is how freedom of expression is being stifled and restaurants are being banned. If you indulge in corruption, then people will talk about it, you can’t stop it by shutting down restaurants. The government should put cases against the congress workers and put them in jail.”said State BJP Chief Devendra Phadnavis.

In an attempt to save their face after the public outcry and admonishment by the media, the Congress is trying to cook up a conspiracy by rival political parties. “What was written in the bill was deliberate and politically motivated,” said Maharashtra Youth Congress Chief, Vishwajeet Kadam. Stretching this line of thought a bit further, Yadav postulated Shetty was from Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party could be inferred from the fact that numerous complaints against the hotel went unheeded by the civic body governed by the saffron alliance.

Aditi hotel opened on Tuesday, the AC section has not been opened for the public. Hotel owner Srinivas Shetty was not available for comment as he has phone switched off.

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