The rule book could not persuade most of the 55 former ministers in the Manmohan Singh cabinet to vacate their government accommodation. But now urban development (UD) minister M Venkaiah Naidu hopes that “public opinion” would persuade them to move out.
With the one-month deadline given to the ex-ministers ending Thursday, only a handful, including former home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, have complied. The UD ministry is now issuing fresh notices to the defaulters giving them a fortnight to move out, failing which eviction proceedings would start.
However, Naidu said that “human approach will be adopted” in dealing with eviction and allotment. “If they do not vacate then public opinion will go against them,” he said.
By Thursday, the UD ministry completed allotment of bungalows to 29 Union ministers in the BJP-led NDA government. These included BJP heavyweights such as finance minister Arun Jaitley, home minister Rajnath Singh, highways minister Nitin Gadkari and water resources minister Uma Bharti among others.
However, the new ministers will have to wait for at least a month before they get to move to their new official homes. For once the former ministers move out, the central public works department would take a month to refurbish the houses.
Nine ministers in Modi’s cabinet, including external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and WCD minister Maneka Gandhi have informed UD ministry that they will continue to stay in their present government accommodation.