The Shiv Sena has turned the official bungalow of its minister Ravindra Waikar into an office, after it had to surrender its Nariman Point office to make way for the Metro-3 line.
Waikar’s office is opposite Mantralaya. The Sena decided to use it as an office instead of the alternative one it was given at Ballard Pier. Waikar, however, has now demanded that he be allotted another bungalow, but the state administration has objected saying it may set the wrong precedent.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation proposed to shift at least eight offices of political parties, including Congress and NCP, to Ballard Estate. Almost all of them agreed, except the Sena, which asked the government for permission to use 1,600 sqft bungalow. After CM Devendra Fadnavis, who heads the General Administration Department (GAD) that oversees allotment of accommodation, allowed them to, Waikar submitted a demand for a new bungalow. The GAD, however, said it won’t be able to allot another bungalow, as it has run out of them. A few ministers were even given flats at Nariman Point and Malabar Hill. The state owns 33 bungalows and nine flats in south Mumbai, but almost all of them are occupied.
“When other parties are ready to shift to Ballard Estate, the Sena started using the bungalow as its office. This would set a wrong precedent as official bungalows have never been used as party offices. We have put up these facts in the file submitted to the CM,” said an official from the department.
Waikar told HT, “After the party denied allotment of the Ballard Estate office, we shifted to the bungalow by issuing a GR. There is nothing wrong in using a bungalow for party work. By refusing to shift to Ballard Estate, we saved government money.”
Waikar confirmed he asked for another official residence, but added, “I don’t mind if the government does not give it to me”.