The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is straddling hope of a comeback in Bihar thanks to its chief Lalu Prasad and his cosiness with the Congress. But electoral gains isn’t all his new ally has given him. The UPA has also helped Prasad retain his government bungalow in Delhi’s plush Tughlaq Road, allotted to him when he was the rail minister.
Long after he demitted office and seven months after he lost his Lok Sabha membership after being convicted in the fodder scam, Prasad has been allowed to stay in the bungalow till October 2014, courtesy UPA, the urban development (UD) ministry said in a reply to an RTI application.
As per norms, former ministers and MPs have to vacate their official accommodation once they cease to be a LS member.
But Prasad, in a letter to the UD ministry, cited ill health — diabetes and cardio problem for which he is undergoing treatment at AIIMS — as a reason to stay in the house.
Besides his own illnesses, Prasad also cited his daughter’s (who stays with him) illness and the fact that her kids study in Sanskrit school.
But Prasad isn’t the only former minister that has been given permission to overstay courtesy UPA.
The Cabinet Committee on Accommodation (CCA) recently agreed to a UD ministry proposal to allow former union minister Buta Singh to not only occupy his official accommodation at Teen Murti Marg long after he demitted office but allowed him to pay a reduced license fee of Rs 26,839 per month instead of the market rate of Rs 1,06, 778 per month.
The UD ministry had been reluctant to make the proposal but caved after a letter from PM Manmohan Singh requested UD minister Kamal Nath to reconsider the decision to allow Buta Singh to pay a lower rate as his pension won’t allow him to pay market rate.
Yadav and Singh might have been the two beneficiaries of UPA’s largesse. But according to the RTI reply, 22 former ministers — a majority of them belonging to the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the DMK — have continued to hold on to their official accommodation long after relinquishing their charge as ministers.