Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday replied to the Lok Sabha Secretariat's notice to vacate his official bungalow and said he will abide by the eviction notice, even as his party leaders slammed the government, accusing it of humiliating him.
Gandhi was on Monday served a notice to vacate the government bungalow, allotted to him, by April 22 following his disqualification as a member of Lok Sabha after his conviction in a criminal defamation case last week.
In his communication to the LS Secretariat, Gandhi said,"thank you for your letter of March 27, 2023, regarding the cancellation of my accommodation at 12 Tughlak Lane. As an elected member of the Lok Sabha over the last four terms, it is the mandate of the people to which I owe the happy memories of my time spent here." "Without prejudice to my rights, I will, of course, abide by the details contained in your letter," he said in his letter to the MS branch of the LS Secretariat which had sent him the notice.
The Housing Committee of the Lok Sabha took the decision following which the secretariat of the House served the notice on the former Congress president, a Z-plus protectee who has been living in the 12, Tughlaq Lane bungalow since 2005.
Slamming the Centre over the eviction notice, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said he condemns the government's attitude to "threaten, scare and humiliate" the former party chief.
He also said that Gandhi could go and live with his mother Sonia Gandhi at her 10 Janpath residence or he could himself provide a house by vacating one for the Gandhi scion.
"They will do everything to weaken him (Rahul Gandhi). He can go live with his mother or he can come to me, I will vacate one for him. I condemn this attitude of the government to threaten, scare and humiliate," Kharge told reporters before leaving for Parliament.
"In a democracy, several times we have managed without a house for three-four months. I got this bungalow after six months. People do these things to humiliate others. I condemn this attitude," the Congress president said.
Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal also took a swipe at the government over the move, calling it "petty politics of petty men".
"Rahul asked to vacate the bungalow. Their conscience has gone on a vacation. Petty politics of petty men," Sibal tweeted.
Asked about the eviction notice at a press conference, Union minister Smriti Irani said the property does not belong to him, but to the people.
A local court in Gujarat convicted Gandhi in a criminal defamation case on March 23 and sentenced him to two years in jail. The conviction triggered his disqualification as a Lok Sabha member from the date of the verdict. Gandhi was granted bail to allow him to appeal to a higher court in a month.
A senior official said a Member of Parliament (MP) has to vacate the official bungalow within one month of losing his membership.
The Congress has already announced a protest march from Red Fort to Town Hall in old Delhi's Chandni Chowk against the disqualification of party leader Rahul Gandhi from Lok Sabha.
During the 'Loktantra Bachao Mashal Shanti March', the Congress MPs will hold burning torches in their hands during the march.