| Nitish Kumar’s probable residence at 11 Strand Road in Patna. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
The drama over Nitish Kumar’s resignation from the chief minister’s post continued a day after but he has been allotted a new address soon after he put in his papers.
Chairman of Bihar Legislative Council Awadhesh Narayan Singh on Sunday allotted him a new residence. Singh told The Telegraph: “I have allotted the 11 Strand Road house to Nitish Kumar as his new residence after he announced his resignation.”
Officials of the building construction department, however, claimed that they had not received any official letter from the council chairman’s office. Requesting anonymity, a senior official said: “We have not yet received any official communication about Nitish shifting to another address but after hearing about it we had sent engineers to check the current situation of 11 Strand Road. We have come to know that it is really in a bad shape. Once we get the letter, we shall start the renovation work and it will take at least a month.”
The double-storeyed 11 Strand Road bungalow earlier allotted to former BJP MLC Ganga Prasad is famous for conducting marriage ceremonies. As the marriage season is on, the bungalow was all decked up on Sunday for a ceremony slated for Monday.
Vijay Kumar, the man who looks after the marriage ceremonies at 11 Strand Road, said: “Two persons had come from the chairman’s office on Saturday night and said Nitish Kumar will shift here anytime so the bamboos have to be removed as soon as possible. I requested them to give me time till the Monday’s marriage. Thereafter, I shall remove all our material from the premises.”
Compared to 1 Aney Marg — the official residence of the chief minister on a road named after the state’s second post-Independence governor, Madhav Shrihari Aney, who held office from January 1948 to June 1952 — sprawling over five acres of land, the 11 Strand Road bungalow is just over two acres.
Having eight rooms, the Strand Road premises is just 1km away from 1 Aney Marg without any herbal and aromatic plants. Nitish converted the chief minister’s bungalow into a herbal hub having more than 100 herbal and aromatic plants, including those of fruits.
In sharp contrast, the garden of the 11 Strand Road bungalow is in a bad shape. The plants and flowers have dried up. The lawns overburdened with guests to marriage ceremonies are hardly green. The only brighter side is the bungalow of the senior superintendent of police across the road.
Besides the herbal plants, Nitish’s present address has a solar energy system. It was installed last year to popularise the renewable energy.
The first chief minister to occupy 1 Aney Marg was Bhagwat Jha Azad. He lived there from February 1988 to March 1989. Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devil lived in the house for over 15 years before Nitish checked in (in 2006). It underwent a sea change under Nitish.