IT PROVED to be a stressful Monday for Chandigarh’s newly elected Mayor Rajesh Kalia. His astrologer had directed him to move into the official accommodation in Sector 24 on the first day of this week considering the auspicious alignment of the planets, and he was all ready with his bags packed and family in tow. But his predecessor, Davesh Moudgil, refused to play ball and sought more time to vacate the house.
Wringing his hands, a harried Kalia told Newsline, “Mera aaj muhurat nikal gaya. Pata nhi kyun khaali nahi kar rahe ghar. Staff ne bhi call kiya tha (I don’t know why he is not vacating the residence. My staff also called him up).” Kalia’s personal assistant Rupam had called up Moudgil two days back to inform him about the new mayor’s desire to shift into the house on Monday. But Moudgil refused to do that and has now sought two more days to clear up.
“l have been told by my staff that he will be able to vacate the house only by Wednesday. But the muhurat is gone. Even if he vacates on Wednesday, I will shift only on next Monday,” the new Mayor said.
When contacted by Newsline, Moudgil said, “I had sought time till January 25 following written orders by Commissioner to vacate the house. But later I decided to shift all my stuff by Wednesday itself. I didn’t get any call from the Mayor. His staff member called me and I told him clearly that I will vacate the house latest by Wednesday.”
Moudgil added that it takes time to shift and he was speeding up the process as he did not want to create “these unnecessary issues”. He reminded that he had shifted into the Mayor’s house five months after taking charge because of its poor condition. “There were some boys staying here when I was to shift. Pipes were all junked, toilets were in a dilapidated condition. The house was in a dire need of renovation. The new Mayor should thank me for giving him a house which is in mint condition,” he said.
The renovation carried out last year had cost approximately Rs 20 lakh. A driver’s room, new toilet for visitors, air conditioners in all four rooms were introduced. The main entrance gate was changed and new wiring was laid. A camp office was also built at the entrance and the entire house was painted afresh. The finance and contract committee had approved the expenditure and Moudgil had shifted in the first week of June.
The Mayor’s residence is a four-bedroom two-storey house. Meanwhile, on his first day of office, Kalia ordered his staff to keep his doors open for city residents at all time. “I have directed that no resident will have to seek permission to meet me. My doors will always remain open and they can drop in directly without even sending a slip,” Kalia said. The new Mayor earlier refused to sit in the royal red chair used by Moudgil in the office, saying that he is a nagar sevak and not a “raja”.