Contrary to Arvind Kejriwal’s claims of being “offered” a house in north Delhi’s posh Civil Lines area, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief will be paying at least Rs. 50,000 as monthly rent, HT has learnt.
A file photo of Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal addressing supporters in Delhi. (AFP photo)
“I have given the house for a year. According to our agreement, Kejriwal will renovate the house, which will cost Rs. 5-8 lakh. This amount will be adjusted as rent,” said Naren Bhikhu Jain, owner of the four-bedroom house.
Even if the renovation costs Rs. 6 lakh, he will get Rs. 50,000 a month as rent, said Jain, son of former Congress MP from Chandni Chowk Bhiku Ram Jain. “I will not give any discount but can consider some leeway as Kejriwal is a celebrity,” he added.
On Friday, Kejriwal had tweeted about the house “offer” and thanked the landlord, giving an impression that the property had been offered to him for free or for a nominal amount, similar to the way that the Hanuman Road property in central Delhi was offered to AAP to run its office.
Read: Kejriwal rents house in Civil Lines, claims it was ‘offered’ to him
In addition to the Civil Lines house, the AAP chief has been paying Rs. 85,000 per month from March 1 for the government flat at Tilak Lane in central Delhi since he didn’t vacate it within the mandatory 15 days after resigning as chief minister.
He had quit as CM on February 14 after 49 days in office.
Kejriwal, sitting MLA from the New Delhi, claims to be unemployed and has no known source of income. His party had declared before the Delhi assembly polls that its MLAs won’t stay in big bungalows.
AAP called the latest rental a ‘non-issue’ but admitted that the money will come either from donations or well wishers. “We don’t rule out using donations or contributions from our friends to pay what’s needed. But let the landlord make an estimate. We will cross the bridge when we come to it,” said a senior AAP functionary.
The party had also defended Kejriwal’s extended stay at his three-bedroom Tilak Lane flat, citing his daughter’s Class 12 exams.
“What’s wrong in it? He will use the Civil Lines house for party purposes as well. Leaders of other parties are moving into much costlier accommodations. Is that being reported?” asked another AAP leader.
Soon after he became CM in December last year, Kejriwal had to turn down a set of two five-room government duplex flats on Bhagwan Das Road in central Delhi after public outrage. The refusal came only after the issue was picked up by the media, with a large amount of government money spent on renovation. Kejriwal’s wife has already surrendered the government flat allotted to her in Ghaziabad, where the family had been staying before the December elections.