Exactly a year after he resigned from his 49-day tenure as chief minister of Delhi, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal is one again on the hunt for house.
Foreseeing that his choice of residence will once again become fodder for controversy when he moves into a house in Delhi from his current residence in Ghaziabad, Kejriwal preempted his critics during his oath ceremony at Ramlila Maidan on 14 February.
“Watch, in three days, it will be said that Kejriwal has gone into a big house. A great man once told me, wherever a person reaches, he should not forget his standing. I know my standing. I am a very small man. In my house today, there are four or five rooms. Wherever I go, why will I need more than four or five rooms? But I will need space for an office or how will a Chief Minister work? Everyday, you will all come to meet me, so will I not need space for 400-500 people? So will only take that much space, that house, will not take a bigger house, don’t worry,” he said.
So it is that the CM is now looking for a small 3-4 bedroom house with a lawn where he can meet people who call on him. According to a report in the Hindustan Times, Kejriwal wants to live in his own constituency (New Delhi) and is looking for a house in one of the government colonies in the area.
In his previous term, the hunt for a house for Arvind Kejriwal made headlines for days. Last year he was allocated a Central government owned duplex to live in and an identical one next door for a camp office — which he rejected after his critics wondered why he needed bungalows on Bhagwan Das Road after saying that the AAP ministers would do away with the VIP culture. Each of the two duplex flats had five bedrooms and a lawn. Together, the total built-up area would have been at least 6,000 sq feet with 9,000 sq feet ground coverage.
Kejriwal then opted for a 3BHK in Tilak Lane , which now has been given to someone else after Kejriwal surrendered it in July 2014. The corner house in Lutyen’s Zone has three bedrooms, drawing, dining, two servant quarters and a common garage near the Patiala House Court and is spread across about 1600 square feet area with a lawn and community park nearby.
After he resigned as the Delhi Chief Minister, Kejriwal did not vacate the house on the grounds that his daughter Harshita was appearing for XII Board exams. He had also informed the authorities that he would vacate the house by July end and until then pay market price. He had almost zeroed down on a house at Civil Lines, which became embroiled in a legal tangle — following which he decided not to move in there.
So it is but natural that Kejriwal is leery of raising hackles once again because of his real estate choices. But as
“Thebrouhaha, lamenting that Kejriwal was quickly drifting away from the aama admi type of life style, betrays a misunderstanding of a chief minister’s functions. They are not limited to making speeches and cutting ribbons and providing bytes to the by now ubiquitous television cameras. They have things to do which are not seen from outside. Even if he is leading a government of a party avowedly of the common man, he cannot be expected to do that from a smaller apartment in which we mango people are settled in. By moving him to a smaller place, officials and politicians are depriving his family of their deserved privacy. As it is, they would get fewer quality hours from a CM”
The HT report further said that at least two AAP ministers — health minister Satyendra Jain and food and civil supplies minister Asim Ahmed Khan — are unlikely to move to an official accommodation as they prefer to stay in their own constituencies they represent but Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will require a house due to his work load and will need space for his staff. Last year, Sasodia was allotted a flat in Mayur Vihar Phase II.
Over the next few weeks, lot of ink will be spilled on the new residences of the CM and his party leaders. After all, this is Delhi where the most important question you can ask someone is, ‘Where do you live?’
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