New Delhi, March 27
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was on Monday served a notice to vacate the government bungalow allotted to him by April 22 following his disqualification as a member of Lok Sabha after his conviction in a defamation case last week, official sources said.
The Housing Committee of the Lok Sabha took the decision following which the secretariat of the House served the notice on the former Congress president, a Z-plus protectee who has been living in the 12, Tughlaq Lane bungalow since 2005.
The development is likely to further escalate the political fight between the BJP and the Congress and its allies who have targeted the government over the issue.
A local court in Gujarat had convicted Gandhi in a criminal defamation case on March 23 and sentenced him to two years in jail. The two-year jail term triggered his disqualification as Lok Sabha member from the date of the verdict. Gandhi was granted bail to allow him to appeal to a higher court in a month.
A senior official said an MP has to vacate the official bungalow within one month of losing his membership.
Sources said Gandhi can write to the Housing Committee seeking an extension, and the panel can take a decision depending on the validity of the reasons cited by him.
The committee has 11 members drawn from different parties and is headed BJP MP C R Patil.
The notification issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat was marked to various departments, including the Directorate of Estates and the New Delhi Municipal Council, for necessary actions.
Congress member Manickam Tagore, who is a member of the committee, hit out at the government over the decision and linked it to Gandhi's trenchant criticism of its policies.
When Gandhi spoke against a few corporate groups getting all benefits under this government, his security was given to the CRPF from the SPG and when he spoke on February 7 about "Adani & Modi friendship" he was disqualified as an MP, Tagore alleged.
"When RG spoke on March 25 the about Mo-Adani... 27th March they want to take the house also. Wah Narender baba. What else can you take from him now? Rahul Gandhi speaks truth and he is fighting for India against the wealth being gifted to Adani and make him super rich," he tweeted.
BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla hit back, saying a government-allotted bungalow is not one's personal property.
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