The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A home to haunt ousted raja

Patna, Nov. 27: Having to leave her chief ministerial bungalow isn’t the only heartburn Rabri Devi is set to suffer. The house she will be moving into will constantly remind her of how her fall from glory began.

Her new home will be the bungalow from where her MP brother Sadhu Yadav was thrown out weeks after she lost her chief minister’s chair.

What’s worse, 10 Janpath (also known as 10 Circular Road) is located on a road off 1 Anne Marg, her home of 15 years. So every time she and husband Lalu Prasad step out on the lawns, the memory of the good old days will return to haunt them.

Not so long ago, the four stars of the ruling family ' Lalu Prasad, Rabri Devi herself, and her brothers Sadhu and Subhash Yadav ' used to occupy sprawling bungalows, all within a radius of a few hundred metres, in the capital’s lush-green, high-security zone.

But their world changed quickly after President’s rule was imposed in Bihar. Sadhu and Subhash, who had continued to occupy their MLA’s quarters even after becoming MPs, were evicted on May 13 amid high drama.

Rabri Devi and the brothers, one a member of the Lok Sabha and the other of the Rajya Sabha, had been unhappy at the “manner” in which they were asked to pack their bags. Now it’s time for her and her husband to leave, though a date hasn’t been set.

“Chief minister Nitish Kumar will move into 1 Anne Marg, while the interconnected 5 Desh Ratna Marg has been allotted to human resource development minister Brishan Patel,” building construction secretary A.K. Singh said.

“Though no time limit has been set, they (Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi) are expected to vacate the two addresses at the earliest.”

Lalu Prasad had been allocated 5 Desh Ratna Marg in his capacity of former chief minister. He may not be allotted another house now because his wife has already been given a bungalow. It isn’t clear if Lalu Prasad is keen on a separate house for himself.

The family will have fond memories of 1 Anne Marg, where Lalu Prasad made several additions, including an outhouse, a small swimming pool and a conference hall.

The couple have a large family of nine children and needed the large space offered by the joint compound. Their two cricketer sons used to do their nets on the lawns of the bungalows, located very close to Raj Bhavan as well.

The family’s large herd of cows was also easily accommodated. Their new house is big, but doesn’t stand comparison with their current residence.

The government is also allotting houses to the new ministers and MLAs. But in keeping with “tradition”, many of the new legislators have started fixing their nameplates on houses of their choice.

Nitish has assured everyone of suitable accommodation, but some ruling alliance MLAs seem to be in a greater hurry than the others.

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