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  Congress jeers at BJP as ‘booze buzz’ hits Coldplay gig

Congress jeers at BJP as ‘booze buzz’ hits Coldplay gig

AGE CORRESPONDENT
Published : Nov 8, 2016, 4:53 am IST
Updated : Nov 8, 2016, 4:53 am IST

The controversy surrounding British rock band Coldplay’s gig in the city seems to be never-ending with the Congress now objecting to the liquor permit sought by the event’s organisers Global Citizen f

PM Modi is likely to attend the concert on November 19 at BKC.
 PM Modi is likely to attend the concert on November 19 at BKC.

The controversy surrounding British rock band Coldplay’s gig in the city seems to be never-ending with the Congress now objecting to the liquor permit sought by the event’s organisers Global Citizen from the state government, which is associated with the concert. The Congress said that the state government should explain the “social awareness message” it would communicate to the youth by having alcohol served at the event.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “The state government is the host partner for the concert where organisers have sought permission for providing alcohol during the event. The state government needs to clarify its stand on the issue. The state government is already giving concession to the organiser by waiving entertainment tax.” He added, “Now, if the organiser has alcohol in the event, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to be in attendance, what type of message does the state want to give the youth in the name of spreading social awareness ”

The concert is going to be held on the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) grounds at Bandra Kurla Complex on November 19. It will also feature performances by Bollywood celebrities like Aamir Khan, Arjun Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar and Kareena Kapoor, among others.

Global Citizen, India spokesperson, said, “We have sought requisite permission from the state government to serve and not sell liquor/spirits to guests and dignitaries in specially demarcated areas at the venue. Recent reports alleging the supply of alcohol at the festival is a gross misrepresentation of facts and yet another occasion where our work is being caught in the middle of politics. The festival is a celebration of collective action for a common good.”

When contacted, Tanaji Salunkhe, deputy commissioner of the state excise department, said, “As of today, we have not received any application for serving or selling alcohol from Global Citizen.”

When it came to light that Mr Modi is likely to attend the concert, opposition parties claimed the event could influence voters in the upcoming civic polls in February 2017. However, BJP Mumbai spokesperson Niranjan Shetty said, “The Congress has almost ruined the country by ruling for so many years. I would like to suggest that it come out with some constructive suggestions when it comes to criticising the BJP.” The organisers have claimed that the chief ministers of Assam, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala are likely to attend the event.

The MMRDA, which is headed by CM Devendra Fadnavis, had approved a 75 per cent rent waiver for Global Citizen. However, on Saturday he told The Asian Age that no rent waiver would be granted anymore and only relaxation in terms of security deposit would be given.

Mr Sawant, said, “No official communication regarding the cancellation of the rent waiver has been forwarded by the MMRDA to the organisers. Also, Global Citizen has organised events worldwide and I know that it was not given permission for serving alcohol at an event in New York. Why are the organisers trying to have that in India now ”

Both U.P.S. Madan, metropolitan commissioner and Anil Wankhade, deputy commissioner, land cell, MMRDA were not available for comment.