Too spacious: UP minister may move out of ‘jinxed’ Kalidas Marg bungalow
Baghel shrugged off suggestions that the structure’s sinister reputation had made him develop cold feet.lucknow Updated: May 22, 2017 19:40 IST
Over two months ago, Uttar Pradesh minister SPS Baghel made a bungalow on Kalidas Marg his home despite rumours that whoever occupies the structure either fades into political oblivion, meets with a misfortune, or winds up in prison.
“I may be a god-fearing man, but I am not superstitious,” Baghel had told HT soon after conducting the ‘grah pravesh’ at 6 Kalidas Marg on Ram Navmi day.
The minister, however, seems to be having second thoughts now. He has offered to vacate the bungalow on the grounds that it is too big for his requirements.
Baghel shrugged off suggestions that the structure’s sinister reputation had made him develop cold feet. “My wife and two children are not going to live here. While my wife resides in Agra, my two children are expected to move out to pursue careers in medicine. This bungalow is huge. Two of my not-so-superstitious colleagues have expressed willingness to move in if I shift to a smaller accommodation,” he told HT.
But if Baghel never required such a “spacious bungalow”, why did he take it in the first place?
“What would you do if a friend asked for a favour? I have shared a long relationship with the people who have expressed a desire to move in,” he said.
According to local legends, the “6 Kalidas Marg curse” extends beyond politicians. Even officers who stayed here in the past have encountered ill-luck, further strengthening the notion that the bungalow is jinxed.
The bungalow is sandwiched between that of chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s 5 Kalidas Marg residence and deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya’s home on the same street. Previous occupants of 6 Kalidas Marg were Amar Singh, Waqar Ahmad Shah, Babu Singh Kushwaha with Javed Abidi.
Abidi, the last resident of the bungalow, was considered close to former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. However, he was sacked as the chairman of the Uttar Pradesh pollution control board within months of moving in.
Kushwaha, an influential minister under former chief minister Mayawati, lost all his clout towards the end of the Bahujan Samaj Party’s term. He was eventually named in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam and thrown into prison.
Shah, another minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government, lapsed into a coma soon after moving in. He never returned to work.
A couple of bureaucrats – Neera Yadav and Pradeep Shukla – also ended up in jail.
However, Baghel’s friends and well-wishers seemed confident that he would beat the jinx. The minister, for his part, firmly believed that no misfortune was headed his way.
“Every previous occupant of this bungalow who went to jail would have gone there anyway. It’s not the house but the deeds of a person that determine his/her fate. In any case, our chief minister is a revered head priest, and I am sure no harm will come to me as long as I remain in his shadow,” he had said then.
No other Yogi minister had even considered the idea of moving into the bungalow.