The Samajwadi Party and the BJP today hurled accusations at each other over the “damage” seen at the government bungalow vacated by SP president Akhilesh Yadav.
The Samajwadi Party and the BJP today hurled accusations at each other over the “damage” seen at the government bungalow vacated by SP president Akhilesh Yadav. Pictures and video clips showed damage to a cycle track, on walls after air-conditioners seemed to have been removed and to the floor of what seemed to be a badminton court at the bungalow here. The Samajwadi Party played down the damage, asking why the state of the homes recently vacated by other former Uttar Pradesh chief ministers in compliance with a Supreme Court order was not being shown.
Yadav challenged the state government to come up with a list of fittings damaged or removed when he shifted. During a visit to temple-town Vridavan, he said BJP had mastered the art of defaming people. The BJP mocked the SP chief, saying the damage done at the bungalow showed Yadav’s “frustration”. Last night, Yadav handed over the keys of the official bungalow on Vikramaditya Marg to the UP estates department, an official said. After this, the authorities let photographers to enter the premises. Yadav had moved out a few days earlier, complying with the Supreme Court order on May 7 that former UP chief ministers cannot retain government accommodation in Lucknow.
Following the SC order, the UP estates department had issued notices to six former chief ministers – Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Kalyan Singh, Mayawati, Rajnath Singh and Akhilesh Yadav. Barring Congress veteran N D Tiwari, who is ailing in Delhi, all of them have now handed over their official bungalows. The SP said the video clips indicated that the BJP was worried over Yadav’s popularity. “This is an attempt by the Yogi Adityanath government to misguide the people of the state and tarnish Akhilesh Yadav’s image,” SP spokesperson Sunil Singh Sajan said. He asked why the official bungalows allotted to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh were not shown to the media after they vacated them. “The reason is that after the electoral losses in Gorakhpur, Phulpur, Kairana and Noorpur, Akhilesh Yadav’s popularity is increasing, and it has given cause for worry to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.”
Sajan also asked why no estates department official was present when the bungalow Yadav vacated was shown to the media. He said the estates department should provide an inventory of the work done by it at the bungalow. UP BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, “The damage done to the bungalow before it was vacated by Yadav shows his frustration.” He said the SP and Yadav must tell the people why the tiles at the house were uprooted. The party alleged that the SP leader got a “grand bungalow” built for himself at government expense after realizing that he would not take oath as chief minister for the second time.
Asked about the video clips showing the damage at Yadav’s bungalow, estates department official Yogesh Kumar Shukla said the department will check its inventory to see what fittings were provided by it. The department will serve a notice if it finds any “shortcomings” or “intentional damage,” he told PTI. Of the six bungalows allotted to former chief ministers, only N D Tiwari’s house is yet to be handed over. His wife Ujjwala Tiwari has sought more time from the estates department, pleading that the Congress veteran was in Delhi in the “last stages” of his life.
“He is bedridden for the past eight months and I am also not keeping well. It is not practically possible for me to come down to Lucknow and vacate the premises,” she had told PTI over the phone on June 2.