PATNA: In a jolt to Bihar Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav of RJD, Patna High Court on Saturday asked him to vacate the bungalow that was allotted to him when he was deputy chief minister in the erstwhile Grand Alliance government.
While Yadav and RJD’s leaders and workers rejoiced over the bail granted to him and his mother, former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi, by Delhi’s Patiala House court in the IRCTC tender scam case on Saturday, the HC order came as a shock for them.
Yadav, who is the younger son of jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, had been persistently refusing to vacate the spacious government bungalow at 5, Deshratna Marg in Patna that was allotted to him as deputy chief minister. He had approached the HC with a writ petition against an eviction order issued by the building construction department.
Justice Jyoti Sharan of the HC ruled that the government’s order to Yadav to vacate the bungalow was justified as the premises are earmarked for serving deputy chief ministers. Since Yadav is no longer the deputy chief minister, he has to vacate the premises and move to the accommodation already allotted to him as Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, said the HC order.
Days after the grand alliance government fell on July 26, 2017 when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of JD(U) dumped RJD and Congress to ally with BJP again, the building construction department had issued the 12 former ministers from RJD and four from Congress to vacate the bungalows.
Tejashwi Yadav’s elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav, who was health and environment minister in the 20-month grand alliance government, had vacated his ministerial bungalow in February this year after refusing to do so for months.
The Nitish Kumar-led NDA government had rejected Tejashwi’s requests to either let him retain the 5, Deshratna Marg bungalow or to move to the 1, Polo Road bungalow, where present deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi of BJP has been residing.
“Tejashwi Yadav’s insistence on retaining the 5, Deshratna Marg bungalow proves that he joined politics to enjoy the fruits of office, not to serve the people. now he has no other option except vacating the bungalow,” said senior BJP leader and MLA Sanjay Tiger.
RJD leaders said they would decide on the next course of action after perusing the HC order. “The HC had put a stay on the eviction order a few months ago and allowed Tejashwi to retain the bungalow. What change in law came about in these months that led to such an order from the court?” asked RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwari.
“Behind Tejashwi’s insistence on retaining the 5, Deshratna Marg bungalow, situated close to Nitish Kumar’s official residence at 1, Anne Marg, is the fact that he had spent nearly Rs 70 crore of government funds on its renovation just weeks before the grand alliance government fell,” said an RJD insider.