Habit is a bad thing. Ask our squatter netas. Seven months after losing power, 14 ex-MPs are still refusing to give up what they see as rightfully theirs: their official residences. It’s another matter that some of the new entrants to Parliament are waiting on the sidelines, also eyeing what they think should be rightfully theirs: their official residences. No matter how much the authorities plead or push the recalcitrant ex-MPs, they remain unmoved. Even the unsavoury incident involving BJP Rajya Sabha member Nand Kumar Sai, who was evicted from his official residence and had to spend a night on the road a few months ago, have failed to have any impact.
The excuses for not leaving the official residences have been flowing freely. The old chestnut was used by Shiromani Akali Dal’s S.K. Dhindsa when he said that he wants to stay in his once-allotted Delhi house for “health reasons”. At this point, however, we are unable to confirm whether Mr Dhindsa is seriously looking for another career as an exponent of vaastu shastra or not. Not to be undone by Mr Dhindsa’s creative excuse, an aide of the Congress’ Pappu Yadav said that his leader was paying the market rate (read: heavily subsidised rent) so he has no clue why all this hullabaloo. Mr Yadav should be told very quietly the real market rate of Lutyens’ Delhi — that, we have a feeling, he is well aware of.
Meanwhile, another Congressman, Sajjan Kumar, continues to remember that he suffers from amnesia. He went on record to say that he can’t “remember” why he still hasn’t vacated his official residence.
This situation is not new. Every time a new government walks into the house called Parliament, MPs tumble over each other for official houses, the biggest of the freebies offered to them. MPs should be paid an allowance to look for that perfect accommodation themselves. A realty check will surely do them a world of good.