Congress cries foul over ‘selective’ eviction notices during Covid crisis, BJP calls it ‘routine’
A sitting Congress MLA has alleged that the government has issued eviction notices only to Congress MLAs who are no longer ministers and spared some Congress rebels who joined BJP and are not ministers any more.Updated: May 21, 2020 20:06 IST
Madhya Pradesh Congress on Thursday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state of not sending eviction notices to those ex-ministers, who resigned as legislators and joined BJP in March, while targeting the former ministers who are in Congress and continue to remain legislators.
“All the 24 ex-ministers of the then Kamal Nath cabinet who are in Congress have got eviction notices from the directorate of estate which is working under home department despite the fact that the state is facing a tragedy like Corona when shifting of belongings of an ex-minister from one place to another is an arduous task and people involved in the shifting process will be prone to the risk of contracting the virus. This is a clear case of victimisation at the instance of the state government”, said Kunal Chaudhary, sitting Congress MLA.
Kunal Chaudhary alleged, “Six ex-ministers had joined the BJP. Two of them became ministers later, hence they are entitled for bungalows but remaining four have ceased to be even legislators as their resignations had been accepted by the speaker of the state assembly. But they didn’t get eviction notices. Sitting MLA and ex-minister Jitu Patwari is occupying D-type bungalow but there are certain BJP legislators who are not ministers but they are occupying B and C type bungalows. Why two yardsticks by government?”
Chaudhary asked, “What was the hurry in sealing the bungalow of ex-finance minister Tarun Bhanot when he was not in his house? Was he running away from the state? Is he not a legislator who has right to remain in a government accommodation?”
The directorate of estate issued notices dated May 14 to the ex-ministers after home department through its order dated May 13 conveyed to it that allotment of the ex-ministers on the bungalows they were occupying stood cancelled as the occupants were not ministers anymore. The ex-ministers were expected to submit a reply by May 20 as to why a final eviction notice be not issued against them, as per officials of the home department.
On March 22 Congress legislators including six ministers had resigned from the state assembly in an act of rebellion against the then chief minister Kamal Nath. They all joined the BJP later. Tulsi Silavat and Govind Singh Rajput were inducted in Shivraj Singh Chouhan cabinet on its first expansion on April 21, though they are not members of the state assembly. By-polls to the 22 assembly constituencies and two other constituencies are expected to be held in coming months.
On Wednesday, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha tweeted, “Shocking action of MP govt. In the midst of corona pandemic authorities issue eviction notices to 24 Cong ex-ministers. In hotspot Bhopal asking ex-ministers to vacat govt residences. @ChouhanShivraj @drnarottammisra personally ensuring. SC/HC bar coercive action in coronatime.”
Despite efforts the four ex-ministers who joined the BJP couldn’t be reached for their comments. While mobile phones of Mahendra Singh Sisodia and Pradyumn Tomar were found constantly switched off the two other ex-ministers Prabhuram Chaudhary and Imrati Devi didn’t take phone calls and respond to messages.
Home minister Narottam Mishra said, “I have no knowledge if any of the ex-ministers was not given any eviction notice. I will look into it. However, this is all routine administrative process that takes place when there is change in government.”