Nagpur: Two social activists Thursday put up a stall to sell meals costing Rs.10 as a counter to the Aam Aadmi Party's much-touted gala fund-raising dinner at a four-star hotel that cost Rs.10,000 per plate.
The Rs.10 per plate meal offered a simple, local traditional "zunkha bhakhar and spicy chutney" that can be gulped down with a glass of water, said organisers Sunil Racharwar and Anju Golve.
The meal stall was set up just outside Hotel Tuli International where the AAP's gala dinner for at least 300 guests was scheduled for Thursday night.
The AAP's vegetarian dinner menu includes five types of vegetable dishes, five baked dishes, five sweets, four types of puris, three types of rice preparations, chapatis and tandoori rotis, topped with a choice of ice creams as dessert.
"We have nothing against AAP chief Kejriwal's Rs.10,000 per plate dinner event. We only want to show that the common man (aam aadmi) and poor people can get a wholesome meal for just Rs.10. No need for anybody to shell out Rs.10,000 in a deluxe hotel," Racharwar, a former army man and one of the founders of the AAP at the national and state levels, told IANS.
Golve said the activists simply arranged around 500 plates of the meal from a popular vendor nearby as a "symbolic counter" to the AAP's gala dinner.
Both Racharwar and Golve are former AAP activists and said they felt pained by the blatant manner in which the fund-raising dinner was organised.
Criticising the expensive dinner, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishore Tiwari wondered who gave Kejriwal such an idea when thousands of hungry and debt-ridden farmers have committed suicide in the region.
"Moreover, in the past few days of heavy rain and hailstorms, lakhs of farmers have been virtually reduced to penury. Amid all this, the AAP should have reviewed its gala dinner programme," Tiwari told IANS.
Racharwar said that as guests started arriving for the AAP dinner at the hotel, scores of commoners also made a beeline for the affordable Rs.10 meal just across the road.
He said there were no objections from either the hotel management or any government authority to the meal programme.