Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday joined a ceremony, or bhumi pujan, via video conferencing to mark the beginning of the construction of the party’s offices in 22 of Chhattisgarh’s 28 districts. Other Congress leaders like PL Punia, Chandan Yadav and chief minister Bhupesh Baghel were also present at the bhumi pujan that coincided with late former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
The party’s offices will be renovated or expanded in the remaining six districts with donations from party workers and leaders, Congress functionaries said. All of them will be known as Rajiv Bhawans. “We are hoping that on August 20 next year, the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhiji, the buildings will be inaugurated. The approximate cost of one structure is around 1.5 crore which will be collected from party workers of concerned districts,” said a party leader on condition of anonymity.
State Congress treasurer Ramgopal Agarwal said the state government has allotted land for some of these party offices as per the law. He added some party leaders have donated land in some districts. “The money for the constructions will be collected from the party workers across the state.”
Another Congress leader said the design of the offices will be the same in all districts and the costs could vary.
Congress spokesman Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said party workers were collecting the money for the constructions at the booth and district level. “In around a dozen of districts, we have land donated by the leaders or purchased with party funds.”
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has questioned the process of land allotment for the offices and demanded an inquiry. “How come the Congress managed to get government land in a dozen places in such a short time? Have they misused the government officials ? At what rate the land has been allotted? The Congress should answer these questions and an inquiry should be done,” said BJP leader Sacchinand Upasane.
He said in the last 15 years, the BJP managed to build party offices in 20 places. “At some places, we are still fighting legal battles… how come these allotments are done so easily?”