New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has allotted the 35, Lodhi Estate bungalow, which Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was asked to vacate last Wednesday, to BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP and party spokesperson Anil Baluni, ThePrint has learnt.
Baluni, who is also the BJP national media head, is currently staying at 20, Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Road, a Type 6 bungalow.
“Baluni had requested the ministry to change his Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Road bungalow sometime back. After the allotment of 35, Lodhi Estate bungalow to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was cancelled, the Directorate of Estates allotted it to Anil Baluni,” a senior official in the Union housing and urban affairs ministry, who did not want to be named, told ThePrint.
The Directorate of Estates, which comes under the housing ministry, handles allotment of government bungalows.
Both are Type 6B bungalows
The officials said no rules have been violated as both the houses — 20, Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Road and 35, Lodhi Estate — are of Type 6B category and an MP is entitled to live in these bungalows.
“The Rajya Sabha MP has some health issues and has made the request to change the bungalow some months earlier. His request was considered on health ground,” the official added, without elaborating further.
Baluni was diagnosed with cancer in late 2019 and underwent treatment in Mumbai. According to BJP sources, he has since recovered.
One of the most vocal spokespersons of the party, Baluni was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Uttarakhand in March 2018.
The Union housing and urban affairs ministry last Wednesday cancelled the allotment of the Type 6B bungalow where the Congress general secretary has been living. She has been given time till 1 August to vacate the bungalow.
The ministry has said Vadra has Z+ security and as per rules there is no provision to allot government bungalows to such individuals unless the Union home ministry recommends on the ground of high threat perception. In her case, the ministry said it has not received any threat perception assessment from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“In case of a person not holding any position in the government, such bungalows are allotted only if he/she is a Special Protection Group (SPG) protectee. The bungalow was allotted to the Congress general secretary way back in 1997 when she had SPG protection. Since she no longer has SPG protection, the allotment was cancelled,” a senior ministry official told ThePrint.
Currently, only two individuals who are not holding any position in the government are occupying official bungalows. They are BJP veteran L.K. Advani and former Youth Congress president M.S. Bitta. “These are exceptions, which the Cabinet Committee on Accommodation has decided following a risk assessment made by the MHA,” the official said.
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