Senior Congress leader Motilal Vora became the first former chief minister in the country to vacate the government bungalow in Bhopal on Thursday following Supreme Court’s order that former CMs were not entitled to government accommodations for life. However, Vora’s act of vacating the bungalow was not because of the SC order but because of the state’s cabinet’s diktat.
The 87-year-old former CM, who occupied the residence 35 years ago, said he had requested the state government to grant him six months time when he came to know through media that the state cabinet had taken a decision to get his bungalow vacated. The six-month period was going to end on September 30 but he got a notice from the state government’s estate office on Wednesday to vacate the premises in 74-Bungalow area.
“I don’t want to make any comments on why the cabinet took the decision or say anything about the other ex-CMs who are occupying bungalows in Bhopal. I have no ill will against anyone. I have an emotional attachment with the people of Bhopal, which is more important for me,” said Vora.
State government spokesperson Narottam Mishra said the state cabinet had taken a decision that none of the ex-CMs could retain two bungalows.
However, Vora — who is a Rajya Sabha member from Chhattisgarh — said he did not have any other official bungalow in Chhattisgarh and he would not apply for it either.
The letter issued to Vora did not have any mention of the state cabinet’s decision and instead stated that the bungalow was getting vacated on Vora’s request.
Accompanied by his sons, Arvind and Arun, and other family members, Vora reached the state capital on Wednesday, handed over the possessions of the bungalow in writing to the PWD and vacated his old bungalow on Thursday morning.
His son Arun said the cabinet’s decision was based on the premise that his father had got another official bungalow in Chhattisgarh even though it was not true.
Senior Congress leader Manak Agrawal said the BJP government acted out of vengeance despite the fact that Vora did not have any official bungalow in Chhattisgarh.
“Former chief minister Vora did an exemplary act by vacating his official bungalow at the directive of the Supreme Court. Now it remains to be seen how the state government gets other ex-chief ministers — particularly Uma Bharti who has left the state — vacate their bungalows,” said state Congress president Arun Yadav.
The former chief ministers in Madhya Pradesh occupying bungalows in Bhopal include Sunderlal Patwa, Kailash Joshi, Babulal Gaur and Uma Bharti — from BJP — and Digvijaya Singh from Congress.
Vora attacks govt on farmers’ plight
Vora underlined the farmers’ plight in Madhya Pradesh which, he said, was a result of the government’s anti-people policies. The Congress leader said nothing was going right in Madhya Pradesh under the BJP rule.
He said some traders from Ashta in Madhya Pradesh who had purchased onion from the state at Rs 2 per kg and took the onion in trucks to Delhi for sale (on a higher price) met him in Delhi.
Vora said the state had earned a bad name due to malnutrition. “The state did not pay any attention to the menace, hence, the number of malnourished children is increasing at an alarming rate.”