When Mulayam met Adityanath with 'secret' plan to save his official bungalow
Yogi agreed to ‘consider’ the SP leader’s request because he was trying to make similar arrangements for his own party’s former CMs.
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Old habits die hard. This is especially true for politicians, of all hues. And nothing could demonstrate this better than the manner in which six former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers are fighting to circumvent an order of the Supreme Court, which asks them to vacate their swanky government bungalows in Lucknow after demitting office.
No sooner had the meeting between Mulayam and Yogi become common knowledge than a manhunt was launched to identify the 'mole' in the chief minister’s office. Photo: PTI
Even as the Yogi Adityanath government on May 17 issued notices to each of the former CMs – Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav, Mayawati, Rajnath Singh, Kalyan Singh and Narayan Dutt Tiwari – to vacate their bungalows within 15 days, the worthies are trying all ways to cling on to the sprawling luxurious properties in the state capital’s prime areas.
What blew the lid off this was a “secret” proposal made to CM Adityanath by Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Mulayam went out of his way to pay a visit to the chief minister, and suggested that the two bungalows allotted to him and his son Akhilesh may now be allotted in the names of two SP leaders – Ram Govind Chaudhary, who happens to be the leader of the opposition in the Vidhan Sabha (State Assembly), and Ahmad Hasan, who is the leader of opposition in the Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council).
This, he suggested, would enable him and his son to retain possession of the two houses, as Chaudhary and Hasan would continue to stay in their private homes.
Even as Adityanath did not make any commitment, he is understood to have agreed to “consider” the veteran politician’s request. After all, the chief minister too was trying to find a solution to the same ticklish issue, raised by his own party’s former chief ministers – Kalyan Singh and Rajnath Singh – who are holding on to two such bungalows in the state capital.
While Union home minister Rajnath Singh is the only ex UP CM to have publicly announced his decision to hand over the house to the state government, Kalyan Singh, the current governor of Rajasthan, is understood to have floated the idea to allot the house to his grandson, who is a minister in the current Yogi dispensation. Sure enough, there could be no more convenient way to retain the house.
The issue would have remained under wraps if it had not hit the headlines in the local media. And no sooner had the meeting between Mulayam and Yogi become common knowledge than a manhunt was launched to identify the mole in the chief minister’s office.
Among the former CMs occupying government bungalows are the BJP's Kalyan Singh and Rajnath Singh. Photo: PTI
Eventually, two small fry at the clerical level were made scapegoats and shunted out of the CM’s personal secretariat, thereby conveying how much the news had annoyed Adityanath.
It is alleged that the issue caused serious embarrassment to the chief minister simply because he was actually trying to find a subtle way to help his predecessors circumvent the apex court’s order. But now that the entire plan stands exposed, things could become difficult even for him.
After all, the persistent petitioner SN Shukla (a former upright IAS officer), who was pursuing the PIL moved by his NGO, Lok Prahari, is keeping an eye on every development.
Of the six former CMs, Mulayam, Akhilesh and Mayawati are truly living in official opulence. Mulayam occupies a giant mansion spread across a plot of about 25,000sqft on Lucknow’s prime Vikramaditya Marg, his son Akhilesh has a more luxurious place standing on a bigger plot of about 50,000 sqft just next door, on which more than Rs 60 crore were spent from the state exchequer to suit the taste of the young former CM.
Mayawati’s opulent estate on a nearly two-acre plot was created at a cost of about Rs 103 crore, taken out of the taxpayer’s money. And that happened not without demolition of a palatial house and a government office building on the adjoining plot. The office of the state sugarcane commissioner was also shifted to a new building.
The entire episode has made it loud and clear that when it comes to common interest, even arch political rivals do not hesitate to join hands. What next move do the scheming politicians come up with remains to be seen. However, it has become evident that the former CMs will still move heaven and earth to hold on to their prized possessions.
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