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Mad scramble for Lutyens bungalows

Publication Date : 09-07-2014


Every change of regime brings with it a mad scramble for bungalows in Delhi's prized Lutyens zone. But this time, this elite area is going through more than a mere change of residents. The tectonic power shift that gave the BJP its first ever majority government is set to overhaul the socio-political profile of Delhi's VIP district.

The biggest losers are the Left Parties, down to just 10 MPs in the Lok Sabha. They no longer have the numbers or the clout to retain the numerous living spaces they have managed to bag through decades of dominance by Left-of-Centre politics. The paradigm change, from Left to Right, means they are out on the roads, literally.
The fate of the CPI's peasant front, All India Kisan Sabha, is a case in point. The Kisan Sabha is perhaps the oldest occupant of a Lutyens bungalow. It has been housed on Ashoka Road since 1951.

There were always enough CPI MPs in Parliament to ensure that the bungalow remained with the party for its use which is why the Kisan Sabha managed to continue in the heart of the Capital even though its activities slowly declined.

The 2014 polls saw the near total eclipse of the Left Parties. The CPI has been the hardest hit. It has just one MP in the Lok Sabha, C N Jayadevan from Kerala. And being a first time MP, Jayadevan is not entitled to a bungalow. He will get a small MP's flat on North or South Avenue.

Left MPs have traditionally given their official accommodation to the party. No doubt Jayadevan will do the same. But the CPI may have to put it to better use than housing a near defunct organization. So, after 63 years in the Capital's power zone, the Kisan Sabha is moving out. And with the CPI in danger of losing its national status after its dismal performance in the recent polls, the Sabha may have to leave Delhi altogether. It has been a change of gargantuan proportions indeed.

Ajit Singh out in the cold

Another long time resident of the Lutyens' bungalow zone who has been asked to pack his bags is RLD chief Ajit Singh. His party was wiped off the political map of UP this time and the price he's paying for the defeat is the loss of a government bungalow that had been with the family ever since his father Charan Singh became the Janata Party's home minister in 1977.

The bungalow on Tughlak Road remained with Charan Singh long after his political eclipse. And after he passed away in 1987, Rajiv Gandhi agreed to allot the house Charan Singh's widow Gayatri Devi. Ajit Singh moved into the house when his mother died and has been residing there since.
It's going to be a huge wrench for him to shift from what he virtually considers his family home. It seems Ajit Singh has been in such deep depression ever since the dismal election results that he didn't even show up at his father's Samadhi, Kisan Ghat, on Charan Singh's death anniversary on 29 May.



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