Shivpal gets the keys to bungalow vacated by Maya
The Uttar Pradesh government on Friday allotted a bungalow – vacated by former chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati on May 30 following a Supreme Court order – to Samajwadi Secular Morcha (SSM) chief Shivpal Yadav.
The allotment of the bungalow Number 6 on Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg in Mall Avenue to Shivpal is being seen by political observers as a sign of growing bonhomie between SSM chief and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
On May 7 this year, the Supreme Court had struck down a provision of an Uttar Pradesh law that let former chief ministers retain government bungalows.
Former chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, Rajnath Singh, ND Tiwari and Kalyan Singh had to vacate their bungalows after the SC order.
The allotment of the bungalow, located a few yards from the chief minister’s office, comes hardly a month after Shivpal applied for registration of his political front with the Election Commission.
The office of frontal organisations of the Samajwadi Party is located adjacent to the bungalow.
Justifying the allotment, estate officer Yogesh Shukla said Shivpal was a senior politician and a five-time MLA.
“He is eligible for allotment of Category 6 bungalow. The estate department had also received an application from him for allotment of a government accommodation according to his seniority,” he said.
Presently, Shivpal is managing political activities from his house on Vikramaditya Marg.
The decision has not gone down well with the opposition parties that have been served notice by the estate department to vacate their premises.
Targeting the state’s BJP government, Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary said: “This is how the BJP government functions. They play with democracy and misuse power.”
State Congress media coordinator Rajiv Bakshi said the handing over of the bungalow was a reflection of the growing proximity between Shivpal and the BJP. “When you help somebody, you are bound to be helped,” he said.
Shivpal, however, brushed aside the opposition parties allegations, stating “I have been allotted the bungalow as there were intelligence reports of threats to me,” he said.
UP BJP spokesman Shalabh Mani Tripathi said no politics should be seen in the allotment of bungalow to Shivpal. “He is a senior leader and a former minister and legislator. His seniority must have been taken into account for the allotment,” he said.
Upendra Singh, a Shivpal supporter, said the bungalow will be used as the office of the Morcha. “Shivpal has also launched frontal organisations which will be accommodated in the bungalow,” he said.
An estate department officer, who did not wish to be named, said the bungalows vacated by other former CMs would be also allotted to senior politicians.
Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav (right) with his brother Shivpal Yadav during an event in Lucknow on Friday.