Following instructions from Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Tuesday moved out of the luxury hotel he had been staying in. His deputy, Shashi Tharoor, moved out of his hotel on September 1.
A report in the Indian Express on Tuesday about the two ministers staying in five-star hotels had put the government in an embarrassing situation as only a day earlier, Mukherjee had asked all ministries and departments to cut expenditure by 10 per cent.
“I have requested both the ministers to vacate the hotel rooms and go to their respective Bhavans,” Mukherjee said.
During the day, the BJP demanded from the ministers to explain who was paying for their stay. The two were footing their own bills, the Congress said.
Krishna said the house allotted to him was not ready and he would continue to make “private arrangements” for his stay in Delhi. He is learnt to have moved into the Foreign Services Institute guesthouse.
Tharoor, in a posting on Twitter, said, “I would be ashamed if I was spending the people's money. But I'm not, I'm spending my own savings... It is a non-story. I wasn't spending taxpayer's money or using any government privilege.”
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said :“ What is important to know is who is paying for their expenses in the hotel. They must explain this to the people.”
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari clarified that the government was not paying for the hotel stay and the ministers were spending from their pocket. “There was no question of burdening the public exchequer. They have already clarified it,” he said.
The ministers stay in luxury hotels once again brought to the fore the issue of accommodation of VIPs in the Lutyens part of the capital.
There have been complaints of former ministers and MPs unauthorisedly occupying these colonial bungalows and fresh allottees not getting them.