President Pranab Mukherjee not in the reckoning for a second term?

Bungalow No. 34 on Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Road, which earlier housed former Lok Sabha Speaker the late Purno Sangma, will be Mukherjee’s home once his tenure gets over in July 2017.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Updated: October 4, 2016 10:09 am
Pranab Mukherjee, Pranab Mukherjee retirement, Pranab Mukherjee post retirement, Pranab Mukherjee address, Pranab Mukherjee house, Rashtrapati Bhavan, india news President Pranab Mukherjee

It’s the first clear indication that Pranab Mukherjee may not be in the reckoning for a second term at Rashtrapati Bhavan — the government has finalised a post-retirement home for the President.

Bungalow No. 34 on Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Road, which earlier housed former Lok Sabha Speaker the late Purno Sangma, will be Mukherjee’s home once his tenure gets over in July 2017. In 2012, Mukherjee had defeated Sangma to get elected to the highest office. Currently, the house is occupied by Sangma’s family. His son Conrad was recently elected to Lok Sabha from Tura in Meghalaya but as a first-time MP is not entitled to the Type VIII property — the highest category of government accommodation available.

The family will have to vacate the house, said an official in the Ministry of Urban Development. Rashtrapati Bhavan officials refused to comment on the allotment of a retirement home for the President.

“There aren’t too many Type-VIII bungalows available. The President still has some time left in his term. We have requested the Sangma family to vacate the house by then. The house might be revamped in case Mukherjee requires any changes, though we haven’t received any such request so far,” said the official in the Ministry of Urban Development.

Sangma passed away at the age of 68 on March 4 this year, and is survived by daughter Agatha and two sons, James and Conrad.

Pranab Mukherjee, Pranab Mukherjee retirement, Pranab Mukherjee post retirement, Pranab Mukherjee address, Pranab Mukherjee house, Rashtrapati Bhavan, india news Picture of 34 no. house at Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Road on 3rd oct. 2016. (Source: Express photo by Renuka Puri)

Although a Type-VIII property, the bungalow on what was formerly Aurangzeb Road is a single-storeyed building unlike the duplex on 10, Rajaji Marg that was allotted to former President A P J Abdul Kalam upon retirement and which he had occupied till his death last year.

Apart from other entitlements like telephone, internet connection, etc., a retired President is also entitled to office staff, a car (if he uses his own car, he can claim up to 250 litres of petrol every month) and the salary of a driver. According to the President’s Pension Rules 1962, “a retired President shall be entitled without payment of rent to the use of a furnished residence anywhere in India at the choice of the retired President, without payment of water and electricity charges for the remainder of his life.”

The rules state that “…at places where Government-owned accommodation is allotted to a retired President, the size of the residence shall be comparable to a residence allotted to a Minister in the Union Council of Ministers, and if the highest type of Government residence available at a particular place is less in size than a residence allotted to a Minister in the Union Council of Ministers, the highest type of accommodation available at that place shall be allotted to the ex-President.”

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However, the living area of such a residence would not exceed 2,000 sq ft, the rules state. Former president Pratibha Patil had courted controversy during the last days of her tenure when it was revealed more than 2 lakh sq ft of land had been allotted for her retirement home in Pune. Patil subsequently gave up that property.

Ever since the NDA government came to power, Mukherjee has often played the role of a conscience-keeper, reacting to political developments of the day, including the debate on the return of awards by noted writers citing a climate of intolerance. But he has always avoided any direct confrontation with the government.

(With inputs from Shalini Nair)

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  1. D
    Oct 4, 2016 at 8:12 am
    I am glad to hear that useless fellow
    1. A
      Oct 4, 2016 at 5:42 am
      Allotting the limited Villas in Bungalow Zone in Delhi for life to ex Presidents and ex PM's etc. Reduces supply further. After they p away, clamour to convert Villa into museum another problem. Till Giani Zail Singh all ex Presidents retired into their home states. Why he can't go to Kolkota and MMS to Amritsar? Make an appropriate guest house in Delhi for their occasional visits. May be the respective State Bhawans can have appropriate suite for them.
      1. B
        Oct 4, 2016 at 3:03 pm
        As a President, Mr Mukherji has done more work for India's benefit than when he was in Congress. Credit goes to PM Modi who has an excellent understanding with this President and has sent him in countries where PM himself could not go.
        1. D
          Oct 7, 2016 at 9:44 am
          1. D
            Oct 4, 2016 at 11:05 am
            First, you mean to say Bengalees, not Bengali(that means the language!);to say the least, it lacks decency, as it amounts to a racist mentality our Country, one is free to follow dictate of mind, which ideology one will follow.
            1. K
              Oct 4, 2016 at 2:32 am
              Did he buy the house?! All of us plan for retirement, so should he!
              1. A
                Ashok Mazumdar
                Oct 4, 2016 at 11:30 am
                He is Modi's son, and Triple MA from Encounter University (E U)😂
                1. P
                  paresh mehta
                  Oct 4, 2016 at 8:33 am
                  Pranav mukharji is very prudent, learned and mature politiation, who was very fit for p.m.s post.but congress can not do that for minority appisment, he should be given bharatratna for his work
                  1. P
                    Oct 4, 2016 at 9:20 am
                    Unfortunately, all of us are not presidents of the country!
                    1. P
                      Oct 4, 2016 at 4:18 am
                      Mr. Perfect was the right man in the wrong party. Had he got the surname "hi", he would have become even the Prime Minister. He has got a sound mind on his shoulders and narrowly escaped to become PM after Indira. He made just one mistake, when he showed his amition and readyness to become PM to Rajiv in Kolkatta.
                      1. P
                        Oct 4, 2016 at 4:21 am
                        Observing his strained, rather, not so harmonial relations with the Government of the day, there is no option, but to go, otherwise, he would have got another term.
                        1. R
                          Oct 4, 2016 at 2:19 am
                          Destination finale for Pranab daa
                          1. R
                            Oct 4, 2016 at 11:11 am
                            India has had two presidents who were distinguished for work outside politics - Dr Radhakrishnan and Dr Kalam. The dignityof the office of the President needs to be restored to its earlier heights by electing some distinguished persons in fields outside politics. Both pranab Mukherjee and VP hamid Ansari are unfit if this test is applied.
                            1. S
                              Oct 4, 2016 at 1:51 pm
                              Being a clever "kulin" Bengali Brahmin, His Excellency, is the only Politician who has pla his cards well and has done very well. You would not have asked for a Bharat Ratna for our Hon'ble President if he had any confrontation with the Government. In the present scenario it is very clear to every Indian that, be a BJP supporter and you will be left alone o you will profit. Else you will be hounded to extinction. The only time such a political situation had unfolded in a country was in Germany with the Brown Shirts (Sturmabteilung) enforcing it. Needless to say that they were he first to be sacrificed when Hitler was firmly ensconced.
                              1. V
                                Oct 4, 2016 at 2:48 pm
                                LK Advani's hse will get vacant, as he is next in RPB
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