File photo: Supreme Court of India. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
A day before the expiry of the deadline to vacate their official bungalows, former chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh have moved to the VVIP guest house in Lucknow, while Mayawati vacated one bungalow, she claimed the other was converted into a memorial for BSP founder Kanshi Ram.
"Mulayam Singh Yadav shifted to the VVIP guest house in Lucknow on Friday, while Akhilesh Yadav along with his MP wife Dimple and children shifted to the VVIP guest house on Saturday. One room each has been allotted to Akhilesh, Dimple and Mulayam," Chief Management Officer of VVIP Guest House Rajiv Kumar told PTI.
He said all the rooms which have been allotted to them are double-room suites.
The members of Yadav family have been given rooms on the first floor of the VVIP guest house, a senior official said.
Officials also said that as per laid down norms, a room can be booked for a period of only three days. After this application to book a room has to be submitted for extension or re-booking.
Acting on a Supreme Court order last month, the UP Estate Department issued notices to the former chief ministers asking them to vacate their official bungalows within 15 days that expires Sunday.
The apex court had on May 7 held that former UP chief ministers cannot retain government accommodation after demitting office.
The estate department had issued notices to six former chief ministers - Narayan Dutt Tiwari, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Kalyan Singh, Mayawati, Rajnath Singh and Akhilesh Yadav - to vacate their official bungalows in compliance with SC the order.
While Akhilesh and Mulayam have shifted to the VVIP guest house, Tiwari is yet to do so with his wife Ujjwala Tiwari seeking more time from the estate department, pleading that her husband was in the "last stages" of his life.
A board reading 'Pandit Narain Dutt Tiwari Sarvjan Vikas Foundation' has been fixed outside Tiwari's Mall Avenue bungalow it in an apparent bid to save it.
Claiming compliance with the Supreme Court order, BSP supremo Mayawati vacated a government house here but held on to a second sprawling bungalow, which her party says is a memorial to their founder Kanshi Ram.
Her personal secretary said she has vacated on May 29 the bungalow on 6, Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg which was allotted to her as former chief minister.
However, Mayawati has claimed that the 13 A Mall Avenue bungalow was party founder Kanshi Ram's memorial.
The estate department has rejected Mayawati's claim that 13 A Mall Avenue is Kanshi Ram's memorial, while claiming that the 6 Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg residence, which she had vacated, was under her illegal possession.
13A Mall Avenue was allotted to Mayawati in capacity as former chief minister while 6 Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg bungalow was under her illegal possession. She has to vacate Mall Avenue residence as per the SC order, a senior estate department official told PTI.
A BSP delegation met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and claimed that the Mall Avenue bungalow was converted into a Kanshi Ram memorial in 2011 and Mayawati occupied only two rooms in it.
On May 21, after it had received the vacation notice, the BSP also installed a board at that bungalow, terming it 'Shri Kanshi Ram Ji Yadgar Vishram Sthal'.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is also the local MP, has shifted from his bungalow at 4, Kalidas Marg, just next to the residence of the chief minister, to his residence on 200 square metre plot at Vipul Khand in posh Gomti Nagar here.
Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh's belongings have been moved to the official bungalow of his grandson Sandeep Singh, who is a minister in the Yogi Adityanath government.
The Supreme Court's order came on a public interest litigation filed by NGO Lok Prahari following an amendment passed by the UP Assembly which allowed all the former chief ministers to occupy government bungalows for lifetime.
The apex court had also struck down the amendment to the legislation which allowed them to retain government accommodation even after demitting office.
The bench had said the amendment was "arbitrary, discriminatory" and violated the concept of equality and added that once such persons demit public office, there is nothing to distinguish them from the common man.
The NGO had challenged the amendment made by the erstwhile Akhilesh Yadav government to the UP ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1981.