Rajat Sharma

Why former ministers and ex-MPs should vacate their official bungalows

akb286The House Committee of Lok Sabha has directed several senior Congress leaders including Jyotiraditya Scindia and Mallikarjun Kharge to vacate their government bungalows since they have lost the LS elections. Normally, leaders who lose elections to Parliament are supposed to vacate their bungalows, but over the years there has been a trend among several leaders, including former ministers, refusing to vacate their bungalows citing various reasons.

The difference that has been noted this time during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure is that leaders who lose elections have been made to vacate their bungalows.

I can cite one or two examples from the past. When former Deputy Prime Minister Babu Jagjivan Ram died, his bungalow on Krishna Menon Marg was allotted to his daughter Meira Kumar, who was an MP. Later, when Meira Kumar became the Lok Sabha Speaker she was allotted a separate bungalow, but she continued to occupy her father’s bungalow, by converting it into a memorial. The government bungalow is yet to be vacated.

The bungalows in which former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi stayed, were converted into their memorials after their death.

When former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee died, his family vacated the government bungalow within four weeks and shifted to their house in Gurugram. After former PM Chaudhary Charan Singh’s death, his son Ajit Singh stayed in that bungalow for several years, but when he lost the LS elections, police had to be called in to forcibly evict him from the bungalow.

There are many such examples, but the most recent example that I want to cite is that of former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Jaitley is still a senior MP of Rajya Sabha, and he had requested the Prime Minister to relieve him from his ministerial responsibility due to health reasons. If Jaitley had wanted, he could have stayed in his official bungalow as a senior MP, but soon after he ceased to become a minister, he quietly vacated the bungalow and shifted to his own house in Delhi’s Kailash Colony.

This is an example which former ministers and ex-MPs should emulate.

Already there is a severe housing crunch for a large number of MPs who have elected for the first time in Lok Sabha. Many of them are presently staying in state government guest houses or in hotels, since they are yet to be allotted official accommodation.

On the other hand, there are many MPs and ministers who have lost the elections, but they are yet to vacate their bungalows and flats. The Modi government is strictly implementing the housing policy for MPs on the recommendations of the House Committee.

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