NDA moves quickly to give BJP another 2 acres in Delhi | delhi | Hindustan Times
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NDA moves quickly to give BJP another 2 acres in Delhi

The NDA government is all set to allot additional two acres of prime real estate in central Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg to the BJP for setting up its national office.

delhi Updated: Mar 09, 2015 12:40 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
A-worker-passes-by-a-hoarding-of-Bharatiya-Janta-Party-BJP-displayed-at-the-BJP-headquarters-in-New-Delhi-EPA
A-worker-passes-by-a-hoarding-of-Bharatiya-Janta-Party-BJP-displayed-at-the-BJP-headquarters-in-New-Delhi-EPA

The NDA government is all set to allot additional two acres of prime real estate in central Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg to the BJP for setting up its national office.

The urban development ministry’s land screening panel cleared the allotment of the plot in the Capital’s power district to the BJP on February 26, sources said. The final approval -- a formality -- is expected shortly.

“We had applied for a plot in 2002 but there were some issues…We applied again in 2006 but the file got stuck. The ministry reviewed our case last year and we were allotted as per the eligibility norms,” BJP national office secretary Arun Kumar Jain told HT.

This is the second two-acre plot to be given to the BJP after the NDA swept to power in May. It abutts the land parcel allotted to the party in August.

A matter of prestige as well as a sign of growing political power, a Delhi address is much coveted among political parties.

A party’s strength in Parliament decides the size of the land it is entitled to. A party with a 101 to 200 members in both the Houses is entitled to two acres. More than 200 members of Parliament allow a party four acres, according to the allotment rules framed for political parties in 2006 by the UPA government.

The rules, however, are silent on what happens when a party’s tally takes a hit.

Before it swept to power in May, the BJP, headquartered at 11 Ashoka Road, was eligible to two acres for its national office.

With a combined strength of 327 MPs -- 281 in the Lok Sabha and 46 in the Rajya Sabha -– the party has been quick to claim a larger share.

The party’s Delhi unit, which functions from 14 Pandit Pant Marg, too, was given an 809 sq mt plot in Pocket 5 of the DDU Marg in December. A separate set of rules govern allotment of land to state units.

The BJP would be charged lower than market rates for the three plots, sources said.

The land guidelines, however, are flawed. “The policy needs to be revisited. There is no provision for returning the land to the government when a party becomes politically and electorally irrelevant,” a senior official told HT on condition of anonymity. There would be no land left to allot after a few elections if the trend continued, he warned.

The Congress with 111 MPs is entitled to just two acres but has been allotted double the size of land. The Samajwadi Party was given a one-acre plot in tony Vasant Vihar in 2009 and continues to hold on to it though it is down to 20 MPs. Allotment rules do not allow the party, which rules Uttar Pradesh, to have more than 1,000 sq mt.

The allotment guidelines were framed after the Supreme Court ordered that official bungalows occupied by political parties be vacated.

Parties running offices from government bungalows have to vacate them within three years of taking over the land allotted to them. But the rule is rarely followed.

In January, the ministry cancelled allotment of four bungalows to the Congress but is now considering the opposition party’s request for an extended stay.