Rs. 80,000 Per Month Game Plan to Retain a Posh Lutyen’s Bungalow!

Post-elections, I have desisted from posting anything negative about Arvind Kejriwal. I think it is not right to beat a person who is already down.

However, I decided to come out of my self-imposed censorship due to something extremely fishy about this man’s ethics. And it relates to… his official bungalow of course. This was the same bungalow on Tilak Marg in the heart of Lutyen’s Delhi that:

  • he quietly requested from Home Ministry after becoming CM,
  • refused to occupy it after protests by AAP volunteers,
  • succumbed to his weakness for taxpayer funded perks to occupy it later,
  • refused to vacate after resigning as CM citing daughter’s exams as an excuse,
  • had no qualms accepting Rs. 80,000 per month from so-called “unusually large-hearted, extra-benevolent friends” (when the market rate for that house was 5 times that which amounted to subsidy from taxpayers), and
  • now is refusing to vacate long after his daughter came out with flying colors in 12th board exams!

Minhaz Merchant’s tweet on Feb 4

It has recently come to our notice that AK’s actual game plan was to never vacate this house at all! Never ever! What has unfortunately thrown a spanner in the works is the full majority to Modi government on May 16. It has taken away any scope for playing mischief with Lutyen’s house allotment.

As early as on Feb 15, a day after Kejriwal resigned as CM, The Calcutta Telegraph reported the real motive in his own golden words to NDTV. Note that he has since stopped repeating this line possibly realizing the downsides of revealing the cards. The national media completely ignored this ulterior motive of Kejriwals, and kept playing up the daughter’s board exams excuse. Kejriwal used her board exams to garner sympathy and self-righteousness for himself from some inquisitive and critical AAP workers. The truth lies elsewhere: not in daughter’s academic performance, but in wife’s anticipated promotion.

The former chief minister’s wife, who was allotted a flat in Ghaziabad where the family lived, will be eligible for a similar flat when she is promoted. But the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), of which she is an officer, does not have flats in Lutyens Delhi where the current apartment is located.

In order to get an allotment in Lutyens Delhi, she would have to make a request. Such requests are not uncommon or illegal but they are little different from seeking favours.

“My wife is due for promotion. She will become commissioner and then she would be entitled to this flat. We will see if that happens,” Kejriwal told NDTV 24×7.

An urban development ministry official said: “An IRS officer is allotted a house from the central pool only if the person is posted with the central government.” Sunita is not on central deputation.

The Kejriwals’ current Tilak Lane accommodation is a Type VI flat from the general pool of the CPWD allotted to joint secretaries or above. Sunita, posted as OSD with the Income Tax Delhi circle as additional commissioner, is one rank below.

On May 28, just two days after taking oath, the Modi government issued a notice to Kejriwals to vacate the bungalow by June 26 (one month after Modi’s swearing in). On June 14, The Hindu reports the real motive quoting a “close source of the AAP leader”:

The source said that Mr. Kejriwal’s wife, Sunita, is due for a promotion in her job which would entitle her to accommodation of a type similar to the one on Tilak Road, but noted that it could take a couple of months due to the change of guard at the Centre.

The Economic Times spills the beans further: the elaborate game plan doesn’t just stop with Kejriwal alone. His close confidant Manish Sisodia who isn’t known to have any 12th grade kid has also refused to vacate!

AAP chief and former Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has got four notices, but has not responded with a firm date of vacating the plush C-II/23 Tilak Lane accommodation. Another AAP leader Manish Sisodia, who lives in a government accommodation at Patparganj across the Yamuna, has repeatedly ignored eviction notices.

Can a politician, that too someone with an air of moral superiority about himself, get any more hypocritical? Will the self-righteous AAP volunteers dare to question their Lord? Who will bell the cat?

Amidst all this hypocrisy, will AAP survive as an ethically upright party if they don’t let go of their power-hungry leader?


State Governors coterminous with Central Govt?

I fully support an incoming Central govt. starting on a clean slate by appointing its own emissaries to the states: Governor. A Governor by definition is Centre’s representative to oversee the affairs of the state government, and as such needs full confidence of the Centre to perform her role. This confidence of Centre is precisely what gives her legitimacy in the state capital because she isn’t otherwise democratically elected. Her role becomes super-critical if the state comes under President’s rule (as Delhi is as we speak). If the Centre cannot rule the state under such circumstances because of a hostile governor, well, she loses the confidence of Centre to remain situated in that high office.

A glimpse of what Modi regime is facing today: Several former full-time Congress leaders such as HR Bharadwaj, Shiela Dixit, Kamala Beniwal, and Margaret Alva occupying Raj Bhavans across the state capitals. The most memorable appointment is of Shiela Dixit’s who just made it in the nick of time before UPA govt fell. There is news that Centre has informally asked some of them to put in their papers.

However, my request to Modi government is this: Please institutionalize the arrangement of a Governor resigning when a new Central govt. takes over. This will take discretion / arbitrariness out of the process, and give Centre a free hand to choose their emissary without having to invent reasons to defend in Supreme Court. Governors can be treated at par with Union Cabinet and Secretaries whose terms also expire with the Prime Minister. Every governor should voluntarily submit their resignations at the advent of a regime change. The new Prime Minister can always choose to retain some governors on the grounds of political neutrality and administrative skills, while letting go of the political appointees of the previous regime.

I hope the government brings in appropriate amendments to laws (and Constitution if necessary) for this institutionalization. Once the idea is institutionalized, the scope for misuse narrows.

Kerala Gov. Shiela Dixit (Source: alternates/FREE_768/sheila%20Dikshit)