New Delhi(PTI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to vacate its order staying the Centre's…
Evicting former ministers, overstaying in government bungalows, is not easy.
Ask urban development (UD) ministry officials.
In June 2014, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Ajit Singh was sent a notice to vacate his 12 Tughlaq Road bungalow, soon after he lost the polls.
An aviation minister in the previous UPA government, Singh was occupied the bungalow for over two decades. He refused to vacate it, demanding it should be converted into a memorial of his father and former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh.
Singh had taken a cue from former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar, who got her bungalow converted into a memorial of her father Jagjivan Ram.
RLD supporters held demonstration outside the bungalow to protest the eviction. Singh had to give in following 118 days of unauthorised stay after the UD ministry cut off power and water supply to the bungalow. He vacated the house in September.
“It was a nightmare to get the bungalow vacated. Police had to barricade several roads in the Lutyens’ zone and shut down the Race Course Road Metro station to stop RLD supporters from gathering around the bungalow,” said a UD ministry official.
Ministry officials recall that before Singh, the other time the government had to resort to such force was in 2009. After Republican Party of India chief Ramdas Athawale did not vacate his Lodhi Estate bungalow despite several notices, eviction officers went to his bungalow and forcibly removed all his belongings.
Athawale is now a minister in the Modi government.
There are other interesting tales.
A tough stand taken by the NDA government after it came to power in May 2014 ensured that no request from former ministers or MPs seeking extension for overstay was entertained. This forced some to knock the court’s door — but in vain.