Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday vacated her official bungalow at Delhi’s posh Lodhi Estate area before the deadline specified in the July 1 eviction order. The central government, in the notice, had asked her to vacate the sprawling premises by August 1 or face monetary penalty.
Ms Gandhi, the daughter of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and a general secretary in the party, will stay in a Gurgaon penthouse for a few days before moving into her new house in central Delhi, news agency PTI quoted sources as saying.
Her new house in the national capital is being renovated, the agency reported.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs had asked her to move out of bungalow 35 on Lodhi Estate allotted to her in 1997 as she no longer had Special Protection Group security. She was not entitled to a bungalow, said officials, unless the home ministry made an exception on grounds of security.
“Consequent upon withdrawal of SPG protection and grant of Z+ security cover by Ministry of Home Affairs, which does not have provision for allotment/retention of government accommodation on security ground to you, the allotment of Type 6B house number 35, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi is hereby cancelled with effect from 01/07/2020,” the notice had said.
The Congress had called the move reprisal against Ms Gandhi for speaking against the BJP governments in Uttar Pradesh and at the Centre.
A couple of weeks ago, Ms Gandhi and BJP’s Hardeep Singh Puri had exchanged tweets after it was alleged that an influential Congress leader had called the Union Minister seeking more time for her to move out of the bungalow.
Hardeep Puri, after Ms Gandhi flagged a news article that made the allegation, had said: “Facts speak for themselves! A powerful Congress leader with much clout in the party called me on 4 July 2020 at 12:05 pm to request that 35, Lodhi Estate be allotted to another INC MP so that Priyanka Vadra can stay on. Let’s not sensationalise everything please.”
Ms Gandhi, in a retort, denied any call being made on her behalf and said she would vacate the bungalow before the deadline.
“If someone called you Mr Puri, I thank them for their concern, and thank you for your consideration as well but it still does not change the facts: I have made no such request, and I am making no such request. As I said, I will be vacating the house by the 1st of August.. as required in the eviction letter,” she had tweeted.
The Centre has allotted the bungalow to BJP MP Anil Baluni. Ms Gandhi recently extended tea invitation to him. The leader, instead, invited her along with her family to dinner, promising to serve all the traditional dishes of Uttarakhand.