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Ghani sees plot in house nudge

Malda, Jan. 17: Ghani Khan Chowdhury today received a fresh letter asking him to vacate his bungalow in Delhi for 25 years, a move the Congress MP said smacked of vendetta for taking on the high command in support of an alliance with Mamata Banerjee.

Ghani Khan, who had yesterday said he was ready to go his own way in case Congress president Sonia Gandhi did not agree to a deal with Mamata's Trinamul, alleged that he has been singled out for speaking his mind.

'I had mildly criticised some Congress leaders yesterday and that is why they have served the notice on me overnight. But the point I wanted to drive home yesterday was that it is because of a handful of Congress leaders that the Left Front continues to remain in power,' he said.

The Malda veteran yesterday welcomed Mamata's proposal for an alliance against the Left and is even prepared to let the BJP be part of it, something that the Bengal Congress leadership has ruled out.

Ghani Khan appeared miffed that he was asked to clear out of the bungalow on 12, Akbar Road, though there were others who are sitting pretty. 'The Congress is in power in Delhi but despite that, the government has served the notice on its own member of Parliament,' said Ghani Khan, who is at present in his Kotwali residence. 'I have asked the party several times to look for an alternative accommodation for me, otherwise how will I shift'

Sources in the urban development ministry said in Delhi that acting on the Supreme Court's direction to 'throw out' unauthorised occupants of official bungalows in Lutyen's Delhi, it has sent letters to individual MPs requesting them to 're-adjust' their occupancy.

'We have not sent eviction notices but request letters to these MPs that they should move out of their ministerial bungalows and seek accommodation from the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha pool of houses,' said an official.

The court has directed the ministry to submit a compliance report by January 24.

There are two categories of illegal occupants in Delhi's Lutyen's zone. The first includes former MPs and ministers who are not entitled to official bungalows and are illegally overstaying their welcome. The second is of MPs who are entitled to official bungalows but not the ministerial houses where they are currently staying. Ghani Khan, an eight-time MP, falls in the second list and has, among others, Murli Manohar Joshi, Yashwant Sinha, George Fernandes and Maneka Gandhi for company.

But while the NDA leaders went out of office in 2004, Ghani Khan has been without a ministerial berth since 1987 when he was removed from the Rajiv Gandhi Cabinet. He was allotted the bungalow in 1980 when he successively held the coal, railway and power portfolios in Indira Gandhi's regime.

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