The ruling BJP and opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) got into a war of words on Saturday over alleged damage caused to the government house former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav vacated a day earlier. Officials said the house was left in a bad shape with broken tiles, missing water taps, decorative plants, lights, bathroom fittings, electrical fittings; damaged swimming pool, cycle track, and kitchen. Authorities gave the media access to the house after Akhilesh handed over the keys to the Estates Department on Friday evening. The bungalow is located on Vikramaditya Marg here.
The BJP accused Akhilesh of damaging the property “out of frustration”. The party said the former chief minister acted like a “kid who spoils a game when he sees he is losing it” after videos and photographs of the damage became public. “One would understand if they took air-conditioners, but even electric bulb holders and tiles are missing. The broken tiles cannot be used again, which shows he acted out of frustration, just like a kid…,” BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said.
“Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rajnath Singh and Mayawati’s bungalows had no such damage,” he said, referring to the government houses the three have vacated in compliance with a Supreme Court order asking them to vacate the houses allotted to them as former chief ministers. SP leader Ram Govind Chaudhary hit back and accused the government of causing the damage to malign Akhilesh’s image since there is no corruption taint on him. “Despite several inquiries into (Akhilesh)’s projects, like Lucknow-Agra Expressway, they could not find any corruption or any lacunae,’’ said Chaudhary, the opposition leader in Assembly.
He said the Estates Department officials first went to the house after the keys were handed over to them and then returned with the media. “Akhilesh Yadav is a senior leader. It is wrong to make such allegations.” Estates Department official Yogesh Kumar Shukla said they will check the house’s inventory to confirm the missing items. PTI quoted him saying that the department will serve a notice if it finds any “shortcomings” or “intentional damage”.
Barring N D Tiwari, all other former chief ministers have vacated their government bungalows. The state government had served notices on Akhilesh, Mulayam, Rajnath Singh, Mayawati and Tiwari, asking them to vacate houses allocated to them as former CMs by June 2. On Friday, Akhilesh had said that many ministers were more focussed on getting them to vacate bungalows rather than on their work.