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Lalu's low point in New Delhi: loses clout and bungalow

india Updated: Jun 05, 2014 14:05 IST
Srinand Jha

Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad is on a house hunting mission after a series of events has forced him to vacate the government-allotted bungalow in the heart of New Delhi.

The beleaguered RJD chief's desire to retain the spacious 25, Tughlaq Road bungalow seems to have been dashed after his party's post-election fortunes and a tussle with Janata Dal(United) over backing his wife Rabri Devi's bid to make an entry into the upper house of Parliament.

Ahead of the by-elections to 10 assembly constituencies scheduled within six months and the assembly elections in 2015, Nitish Kumar has refrained from identifying with the RJD's first family by backing Rabri's candidature to Rajya Sabha, sources in JD(U)said.

Membership to the council of states for Rabri would have enabled her to retain the bungalow allotted to Prasad in 2004, when he was elevated as the railway minister.

To prevent Prasad the trouble of shifting houses, the RJD core group is exploring other options including the possibility of having the bungalow allotted in the name of party MP from Munger, Jai Prakash Narain Yadav – a five-term legislator in the Bihar assembly and the state minister for water resources in the UPA-I term from 2004-09.

If this plan works, Prasad can remain undisturbed at Tughlaq Road without having to pay market rent, while Yadav can shift to the accommodation that RJD MP from Madhepura Pappu Yadav will get and Pappu can move in with wife Ranjeeta Ranjan who is a Congress MP from Supoul.

The other option is to have the Tughlaq Road bungalow allotted in the name of party Rajya Sabha MP Prem Chand Gupta. But, Gupta will need to shift to a private accommodation.

Since he lost membership of Lok Sabha eight months ago, Prasad has been living at the Tughlaq Road residence by paying a monthly market rent of Rs. 1,06,603.

In one of its last decisions, the UPA government had permitted him to retain the bungalow until October 2014.

Among other political veterans who will need to move out includes RLD chief Ajit Singh – who has been staying at 12, Tughlaq Road for more than three decades.

The bungalow was allotted to Singh's late father and former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh in July 1979.

In all, the Central Public Works Department has so far issued notices to 52 former MPs to vacate their houses, sources said.