Ruling National Conference (NC) sees itself in the soup over allegedly ferrying Wazwan, traditional multi-cuisine dishes, in a police vehicle for a party meeting, with opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) writing to election commission.
“The Wazwan was served to the participants for lunch and was carried in police vehicles. This is a brazen misuse of official machinery and resources for carrying out party activities. We believe this is an unabashed violation of the Model Code of Conduct,” the PDP wrote in the letter dispatched to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday.
On March 15, the NC held its provincial working committee’s meeting at its headquarters ‘Nawa-i-Subhu’ in Srinagar.
The news channels caught on camera the copper casseroles carrying dishes apparently for meeting, which was attended by chief minister Omar Abdullah, ministers, MPs and legislators from Kashmir. The cooks were caught next to police vehicles ferrying dishes.
“This is not the first time the government has displayed such a shameless behaviour. Unfortunate part of the whole story is that even the chief minister didn’t express a customary regret over the police brutality,” said PDP spokesperson Naeem Akhtar, while referring to the March 14 killing of a youth in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
The wazwan controversy has provided a handle to the opposition to crack a whip on the NC ahead of the parliamentary polls and score some political points.
“The arrogance of power has made the ruling party blind to a level that it is hardly concerned with the people’s sufferings now, and is completely overlooking the fact that there is people’s court waiting for their trial,” he said.
While most NC leaders preferred to be silent on the controversy, NC general secretary Mustafa Kamal defended the act.
“It was purely a party function and not a government function. This is not first time NC served Wazwan. We have a culture of serving Wazwan. The NC had made no requisition for official vehicles for ferrying the dishes to the venue. That is for the master chef to answer. Police was present in our office for security reasons,” he said.