Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath today sacked two officials for leaking the details of his meeting with Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav. While one official to face the heat is CM’s Personal Secretary Pitambara Yadav, the second official is Personal Assistant to Chief Secretary to CM, Shishupal. On Wednesday, Mulayam had met CM Adityanath at his residence to discuss the fallout of the recent Supreme Court’s judgement to strike down the law that allows former CMs to stay in government accommodation throughout the life. According to reports, Yadav suggested that his and Akhilesh’s bungalows should be allotted in the name of Leaders of Opposition in Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, Ram Govind Chaudhary and Ahmad Hasan, respectively. But a day later, the government served notices to six former CMs asking them to vacate the government accommodation within 15 days.
On May 7, the Supreme Court had struck down a law brought in 2016 to provide lifetime housing to former chief ministers. The court in its ruling said that former Chief Ministers are not entitled to government bungalows for lifetime as once they vacate the office, they are at par with a common man. The court had termed the law ‘unconstitutional’ and asked the state government to ensure compliance with its order. Yogesh Kumar Shukla, Special Secretary and Estate Officer told The Indian Express that notices were served to the former CMs after receiving clearance from the Law department and the state government. Shukla confirmed that they have been asked to vacate the bungalows within 15 days.
Top developments so far in the matter:
1. The six former chief ministers who were served notice on Thursday are ND Tiwari, Kalyan Singh, Rajnath Singh, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav. The notices were sent to them by the Estate Department. The state government has asked them to vacate the government bungalow within 15 days. All bungalows of the former CMs are located in high-security VVIP zone in Lucknow.
2. The law that was in question – UP Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981, was amended by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government in 2016. The Section 4(3) of amended law grants permanent residential accommodation to former CMs. But the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional. The law was challenged by NGO Lok Prahari.
3. The bungalow presently used by Akhilesh Yadav was renovated and allotted to him just before the 2017 Assembly polls. Mulayam has been staying at the 5, Vikramaditya Marg from last 27 years. The bungalow where Mayawati presently lives was also renovated and expanded during her tenure as the CM between 2007 and 2012.
4. On Wednesday, Mulayam Singh Yadav called on CM Adityanath at his residence. The two met for around 30 minutes. Officials privy to the minutes of the meeting said that Mulayam discussed the recent Supreme Court ruling during the courtesy call. This stoked a controversy forcing the government to sack two of its officials who had leaked the details of the meeting.
5. A senior official said that Mulayam was trying to find ways to circumvent the Supreme Court order, The Indian Express reported. He suggested to CM Adityanath to allow him and his son Akhilesh to stay in the present bungalows by allotting them in the name Ram Govind and Ahmad Hasan. “The suggestion regarding allotment of bungalows occupied by Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav to Leaders of Opposition in both Houses did come up during a courtesy meeting of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chief Minister yesterday (on Wednesday) but the government will go according to rules,” The Indian Express quoted the official as saying.
6. Ram Govind Chaudhary is the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly whereas Ahmad Hasan is Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council. Chaudhary said that he has come to know about Mulayam’s suggestion. Chaudhary said that he is okay with it. “Yes, I have also come to know that a suggestion was made regarding the allotment of bungalows of Netaji and Akhileshji to the Leaders of Opposition in the Assembly and Council. We have no objection. In fact, we would be happy,” he said.