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Housing Minister Puri and Priyanka Gandhi get into Twitter spat over vacating govt bungalow

Hardeep Puri says a Congress leader asked for Priyanka Gandhi to be allowed to stay on at 35, Lodhi Estate, but she says she’ll vacate before 1 August deadline.

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New Delhi: Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Union Housing Minister Hardeep Singh Puri got into a Twitter spat Tuesday after it was reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to a request to allow her to continue staying at the government bungalow at 35, Lodhi Estate, for some more time.

Puri tweeted that a “powerful Congress leader with much clout in the party” had called him, asking for the house to be allotted to another Congress MP, so that Priyanka Gandhi could stay on.

In a subsequent tweet Puri hinted that a certain “political advisor who speaks and acts” on behalf of the Gandhi family had called him. “It was when he requested that we decided to give a two month extension in good faith,” Puri tweeted.

However, Priyanka Gandhi distanced herself from the senior leader, and insisted she would vacate the bungalow by the original deadline of 1 August.

“I thank them for their concern, and thank you for your consideration as well but it still does not change the facts: I have made no such request, and I am making no such request,” she tweeted.

Puri then responded by saying: “Would only request you to first sort out these issues within your own party before venting in public. Streak of entitlement & playing victim don’t go well together.”

Also read: Priyanka Gandhi to move to Lucknow after vacating govt bungalow in Delhi: Congress leaders

‘BJP propaganda’

The 35, Lodhi Estate, bungalow was allotted to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in 1997, when she was a SPG protectee. The housing ministry cancelled the allotment on 1 July on the grounds that she no longer has SPG protection, and so, is not entitled to government accommodation. Priyanka Gandhi was given time till 1 August to vacate the premises.

Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill refused to comment on who the senior party leader mentioned by Puri is, but said the BJP is raking up a non-issue so that its propaganda machine keeps running.

“As far as Priyanka ji is concerned, she has decided to leave the house one week before the set deadline, without making any fuss,” Shergill told ThePrint.

Congress communications head Randeep Singh Surjewala also tweeted on the issue, asking Puri to “stop sensationalising” and asking him who the bungalow was finally allotted to.

ThePrint was the first to report on 5 July that the NDA government had allotted the house to BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP and spokesperson Anil Baluni.

Report behind the controversy

The controversy began when Priyanka Gandhi Tuesday hit out at a report by news agency IANS published on, calling it “fake news”.

“In a remarkably statesmanlike move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to a request to allow Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to retain the 35, Lodhi Estate bungalow for some time… After the government directive to vacate the prime Lutyens real estate property in Lodi Estate, the Centre was approached to allow Priyanka Gandhi to stay there for some more time,” the report said.

But Priyanka Gandhi denied the report, saying she would vacate the government accommodation by 1 August.

IANS Editor-in-Chief Sandeep Bamzai rejected Priyanka Gandhi’s allegation of the report being “fake news”.

“The story was put out with indisputable facts. There was a circus which began this morning led by Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi. Subsequently, the urban development minister tweeted and clarified all the facts,” Bamzai told ThePrint.

“The story is based on the phone call made by a senior Congress leader to a senior BJP leader, who then went to the PM with the request. The PM very graciously allowed her to stay,” Bamzai added.

Also read: The fundamental flaw in Priyanka Gandhi’s Uttar Pradesh strategy 


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