Four days after the Uttar Pradesh government served notices to six former Chief Ministers, including BSP chief Mayawati, to vacate their government bungalows within 15 days, a signboard reading “Shri Kanshiram Ji Yaadgar Vishram Sthal” surfaced on Monday outside her 13A, Mall Avenue bungalow.
Notices, also sent to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh, SP leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav and Congress veteran N D Tiwari, came after the May 7 Supreme Court order that struck down a provision in the Uttar Pradesh Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act that made former CMs eligible for official accommodation even after the end of their term.
When contacted, a senior BSP office-bearer said that the step was taken as the bungalow contains “precious memories” of Kanshiram and has his statue on its premises. Special Secretary and UP Estate Officer, Yogesh Kumar Shukla, said that this new nameplate may not change anything. “They cannot register Bungalow Number 13A for anything else. They cannot convert that bungalow into a guest house or museum,” said Shukla. “A house is a house. I will check again if there is any mention of a guest house or anything like that in the old files. However, as far as I know, there is nothing like that. Otherwise, this nameplate would have come up long ago.”
“Bungalow 13 A has been allotted to former Chief Minister Mayawati and there is no other use of the property. Also, this (nameplate) won’t have any effect on the notice served. The Supreme Court order is specific and clear-cut saying that government bungalows allotted to former CMs have to be vacated,” he added.
Meanwhile, a senior BSP officer bearer, requesting anonymity, told The Indian Express, that the party would comply with the SC order but it also wishes to open 13A to the general public — just like the Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal, Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal and Manyawar Kanshiram ji Green Eco Garden.
Mayawati was allotted Bungalow 6 after she demitted office as CM in 1995; when she was back as CM (2007-2012), she got 13A which she merged with Bungalow 6. Bungalow 9A is a non-government property where, according to the BSP office-bearer, she will move to.
“Inside Bungalow 13A, there is a big statue of Saheb (Kanshiram) and there are his memories of his days of struggle. The original bungalow of Behanji (Mayawati) was Number 6. She is going to vacate that. Bungalow 13A is an important place for us as Saheb used to live there. He was taken to Delhi after his health deteriorated.”
Asked why this step was taken after the notice was received, the BSP officer-bearer refused to comment. “However, as Mayawati respects the Supreme Court, she is going to vacate this bungalow within the given time frame. The nearby Bungalow Number 9A is ours and she will shift into that one. Meanwhile, 13A will be open for the public like other Dalit monuments,” the party office-bearer said.