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Laloo cowshed raises a stink

New Delhi, July 26: Laloo Prasad Yadav may have to go without his favourite cow milk. He can have plenty of it at his Patna residence, but not in Lutyens’ Delhi thanks to the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and the Rajya Sabha House Committee.

The CPWD, which looks after the government bungalows and buildings in New Delhi, has complained to the House committee that Laloo Yadav and another eight MPs have constructed additional structures on the premises of their official residences by violating urban land laws.

While the others have built additional rooms to accommodate a “growing number of visitors from constituency”, Laloo Yadav got a cowshed constructed at 25, Tughlak Road. One of his aides admitted to the construction of an extra structure, but claimed that cows have not yet been brought.

When House committee chairman Ram Nath Kovind, of the BJP, confronted Laloo Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief said nobody, especially the BJP and the NDA government, should have any problem as the shed is meant for cows. “We worship (the) cow. Gai hamari mata hai.”

The chairman is in a dilemma about how to tame law-makers who violate the law, especially Laloo Prasad, who is fond of cow milk and can give a lecture on the medicinal qualities of the quadruped’s urine and dung at any time of the day.

Kovind confirmed the complaints from the CPWD and said he would shortly seek clarifications from the MPs who flouted the rules. His colleagues in the panel are: Shankar Roy Choudhry (Independent), Ahmed Patel, Rajiv Shukla, (both Congress) Ram Mohan Rao (Telugu Desam Party) and Satish Pradhan (Shiv Sena).

Apart from Laloo Yadav, the errant MPs belong to the Congress, the BJP and the DMK.

Sources close to Kovind said the panel is unlikely to take a grim view of the violations. “The population is swelling and MPs have to cater to the needs of more and more people. A large number of visitors from their respective constituencies visit them. A little bit of extra ‘need-based’ construction is okay,” they said.

The bungalows were built by the British for Her Majesty’s officials who did not want to mix with the hoi polloi. It suited them, but MPs now can hardly do that, the sources argued.

The Prime Minister’s Office had recently issued guidelines on additional constructions in Lutyens Delhi, according to which only Cabinet ministers, judges of Supreme Court and high courts are allowed extra construction.

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