Priyanka Gandhi evicted: Will LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi also be asked to leave their Lutyens' bungalows?
Priyanka Gandhi evicted: Will LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi also be asked to leave their Lutyens' bungalows?
Photo: PTI

On Wednesday, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi had been asked to vacate her Lodhi Estate residence by the beginning of next month that is August 1. Gandhi, who lost her SPG cover some time ago, has been asked to leave by August 1.

Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs had sent a notice about the same. As per the notice, the withdrawal is a consequence of her SPG protection being withdrawn.

"Consequent upon withdrawal of SPG protection and grant of Z+ security cover by Ministry of Home Affairs, which does not have provision for allotment/retention of Government accommodation on security grounds to you, the allotment of Type 68 house No. 35, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi is hereby cancelled," reads the notice.

The Centre in November replaced the SPG cover for Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with Z-plus security by the CRPF.

Well, while Gandhi's eviction has made headlines, it is imperative to note that the Centre provides accomodation in Lutyens' Delhi to senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi as well. It should also be noted they do not hold any official or parliamentary position and do not have SPG cover.

Advani gets to keep his government accommodation "for life" and Joshi can live there till June 25, 2022, reported The Wire. A note by Ministry of Housing accessed by The Wire states: “As per extant policy, private persons other than SPG protectees are not entitled to be allotted government accommodation on security ground. However, cabinet committee on accommodation (CC) make certain exceptions based on threat perceptions to the individuals.

“On the basis of the recommendation of Ministry of Home Affairs about persons given Z+ security cover, and requiring government based on threat perception, CCA considers such matter," the note added.

“CCA has approved retention of government accommodation to Shri L.K. Advani, former deputy prime minister for life and Shri Murli Manohar Joshi, former Union minister for human resource development, for three years both w.e.f. 25.06.2019 on security grounds”

Earlier, after Gandhi's eviction, an official said that the Congress general secretary, who is in-charge for Uttar Pradesh, had been allotted the bungalow on February 21, 1997 as she was an SPG protectee.

The Z-plus security does not entail such a facility and she has to vacate 35 Lodhi Estate bungalow, the official said. The Congress had reacted sharply to the withdrawal of SPG cover to the Gandhi family and had even raised the issue in Parliament.

Senior party leader and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Wednesday that the the Union Government should withdraw the cancellation order in the interest of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's security and safety.

The official said that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was paying around Rs 37,000 per month as a rent.

"Persons with Z+ security cover are not entitled for the government accommodation. Such exceptions can be made only by the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation based on security assessment by the Ministry of Home Affairs on their recommendation," an official said.

The official also said that the CCA in its meeting held on December 7, 2000 had reviewed the guidelines on allotment of government accommodation on security ground and decided that in future, no private person, other than those who are SPG protectees, will be given such facility on security ground. "Such allotment were to be done at the market rate -- 50 times of normal rent. Later, in July 2003, it was decided to charge special rate of licence fee like 20 times of the normal rent from such allottees," official added.

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