Yogendra Sao outside the residence of former chief secretary SK Choudhary at HEC Colony in Ranchi on Wednesday. (Prashant Mitra)
Ranchi, Oct. 9: The rose by any other name would smell as sweet. The rose in any hand would look as beautiful. But, few would have expected a Congress heavyweight like Yogendra Sao to hold one.
Known better for using muscle than mind, the Barkagaon MLA actually did turn to Gandhigiri to persuade former state chief secretary S.K. Choudhary to vacate his official residence at HEC Colony in Ranchi so that he could move in.
The state had allotted the house to Sao in September.
Wearing kurta-pyjama, a Nehru jacket and a Gandhi cap, he came to Choudhary’s premises with a red rose in hand and supporters and security personnel in tow. Seeing his demeanour, one would not want to believe that the same man had slapped NTPC deputy general manager R.K. Singh in public in 2010 and roughed up Barkagaon BDO Rajballabh Singh in 2011.
Despite his non-violent attempt this time, the minister was in for disappointment. For, neither Choudhary nor wife Kumud, a former IPS officer, was at home.
Sao gave his mobile number to a security guard on vigil outside, but did not dare enter the premises. The warning on the gate “Beware of Dog” was enough to keep him at bay.
“The house has been allotted to me but a bureaucrat is occupying it. We need to free it. My pandits have told me to shift here on the sixth day of Navratri because it is auspicious,” Sao told curious onlookers and passers-by.
Not done, the minister then asked one of his men to take his picture in front of the house as a proof of his Gandhigiri.
State Congress leaders refused to comment on the episode, but there were whispers of disapproval. “Yesterday, he was told by the state Congress high command not to do anything that may bring further embarrassment to the party. Such matters should be resolved at the administrative level. Don’t know who advised him for such a street show, may be his guru and mentor,” a senior party leader said, probably hinting at Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay.
Choudhary, who retired in March this year, claimed that he had been staying at the house with due permission from the government as he was hopeful of some government assignment.
“I never expected a minister to do this. It is an act of trespassing, he is spoiling my privacy. I can’t tarnish my 35-year-old career over a house. I have already informed the government I will vacate it within one-and-a-half month. The minister has been giving concocted stories to the media,” Choudhary said.