The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mulayam makes a meal of eviction

New Delhi, Jan. 18: Days after piping down on the phone-tapping controversy, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today again accused the Centre of “political vendetta” over an eviction notice in the capital.

The Uttar Pradesh chief minister made a spectacle of vacating his official bungalow, 2 Krishna Menon Marg, this afternoon. He sat amid piles of packed boxes and other luggage, claiming the Centre was “conspiring” to throw him and his party members out of houses they were entitled to.

Though the Centre is merely following a Supreme Court order by asking illegal occupants to shift out of government bungalows and flats, Mulayam claimed the move was meant to “exclusively” target the Samajwadi Party (SP).

“Personally, it does not bother me. I am as comfortable on the streets as I was in the bungalow,” he said. “The issue is that of political conspiracy. Why is only the SP being targeted' Why aren’t other leaders being asked to leave'”

The urban development ministry, however, has sent eviction notices to all political leaders illegally occupying government accommodation. The Congress MP from Malda, A.B.A. Ghani Khan Chowdhury, had yesterday accused the party high command of evicting him because he had spoken in favour of an alliance with Mamata Banerjee.

Mulayam refused to answer questions on the phone-tapping controversy. Even party general secretary Amar Singh, who stood by the chief minister’s side all morning while his luggage was being removed, didn’t speak on the subject.

The Samajwadi chief had also summoned party MP Jaya Bachchan to add weight to his argument. Jaya, a Rajya Sabha member, hasn’t been allotted official accommodation.

“Jaya Bachchan is not just a Rajya Sabha MP. She is an artiste of international repute. Yet the government has not bothered to allot her a house,” Mulayam said.

He, however, did not mention that another party MP and actress, Jaya Prada, has been allotted a palatial bungalow though she is a first-time member of the Lok Sabha. Jaya Prada, too, was present while Mulayam’s luggage was being removed.

The Samajwadi chief said he had wanted to retain the bungalow allotted to him when he became defence minister 10 years ago for security reasons. He held up a list of 33 “illegal occupants” from other parties to buttress his claim that the SP alone was being targeted.

The list mentioned the BJP’s Rajnath Singh, Jaswant Singh, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitley and Yashwant Sinha; Janata Dal (United) leaders George Fernandes, Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar; National Conference chief Omar Abdullah and Ghani Khan.

“On January 14, the police arrived here and spoke to the staff about the logistics of moving out my belongings. Next day, they sent a woman to tell my staff that she had been allotted this house,” Mulayam alleged. “We are being persecuted.”

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