A war of words broke out between the BJP and the SP after government officials claimed the bungalow vacated by former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav last week was left in a poor state with broken tiles, missing water taps, decorative plants, lights, bathroom fittings, electrical fittings; damaged swimming pool, cycle track, and kitchen.
Yadav, however, accused the officials who used to “pick up cups and plates” during his time as chief minister of smearing his name in public.
In a veiled warning, Yadav said: “These officers should be aware that governments come and go. I have seen officials pick up cup and plates, they should not get into such behaviour.”
The media was granted access to the house, located on Vikramaditya Marg in state capital Lucknow, after Yadav handed over the keys to the Estates Department on Friday evening.
The BJP alleged that the damage to the property was done by Yadav “out of frustration” of having to let go of the bungalow. Yadav acted like a “kid who spoils a game when he sees he is losing it” as visuals of the damage to the property became public, the party said.
BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said, “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… .”
In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court ordered that houses allotted to former chief ministers must be vacated. Former CMs Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Rajnath Singh, among others, had to vacate their official residences. Tripathi said, “Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rajnath Singh and Mayawati’s bungalows had no such damage.”
The Samajwadi Party, in turn, blamed the state government for damaging the property to tarnish Akhilesh’s image in the absence of any corruption allegations against him. “Despite several inquiries into (Akhilesh)’s projects, like Lucknow-Agra Expressway, they could not find any corruption or any lacunae,’’ said SP leader Ram Govind Chaudhary, the opposition leader in Uttar Pradesh 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,” Chaudhary said.
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”.