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House pangs of doting dad

New Delhi, Feb. 15: Arvind Kejriwal was quick to give up the chief minister’s chair and the responsibilities that came with it, but is finding it tougher to let go of the house.

The Aam Aadmi Party boss today said he would not vacate the Lutyens Delhi flat allotted to him as chief minister.

“My daughter has her examinations. I don’t want to disturb her. Just now we shifted and it was very painful for my aged parents and family,” Kejriwal said.

Kejriwal wants to stay on if the house is allotted to his wife Sunita, who is an IRS officer. If not, he wants to stay at least till his daughter’s exams, which begin in March, are over.

According to the rules, Kejriwal can keep the Tilak Lane flat for another 15 days (beginning of March). He could stay on for six months more but would have to pay the market rent — around Rs 70,000 a month.

Kejriwal is not breaking any rule but the reason he cited is the same used by many to stay on, drawing charges of “VIP culture” that he had vowed to finish off.

The former chief minister’s wife, who was allotted a flat in Ghaziabad where the family lived, will be eligible for a similar flat when she is promoted. But the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), of which she is an officer, does not have flats in Lutyens Delhi where the current apartment is located.

In order to get an allotment in Lutyens Delhi, she would have to make a request. Such requests are not uncommon or illegal but they are little different from seeking favours.

“My wife is due for promotion. She will become commissioner and then she would be entitled to this flat. We will see if that happens,” Kejriwal told NDTV 24x7.

An urban development ministry official said: “An IRS officer is allotted a house from the central pool only if the person is posted with the central government.” Sunita is not on central deputation.

The Kejriwals’ current Tilak Lane accommodation is a Type VI flat from the general pool of the CPWD allotted to joint secretaries or above. Sunita, posted as OSD with the Income Tax Delhi circle as additional commissioner, is one rank below.

If the flat is not allotted to his wife after her promotion, Kejriwal said he would vacate it after his daughter’s Class XII board exams and would pay the market rate until then. “This is not a CM’s bungalow. It is just a four-bedroom flat,” he said.

Kejriwal had earlier given up plans to move into two duplex flats in Lutyens Delhi after criticism over his choice of a 10,000sqft accommodation.

 


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