Ex-BJP ministers in Guj allotted posh bungalows in violation of norms in 2021, paying nominal rent: Congress
At least 15 former ministers in Gujarat, who were part of the erstwhile Vijay Rupani cabinet, are living in posh government bungalows in Gandhinagar by paying a nominal rent since last October under a special provision that allowed their stay till the end of the last academic session, but shockingly, none of them had children going to schools or colleges, the opposition Congress alleged on Sunday.
The ruling BJP rubbished the Congress' claim saying these bungalows were allotted as per the state government's norms.
The Congress said these former ministers are just MLAs now and in normal circumstances, they should have been allotted MLA quarters and not posh bungalows at a discounted rate.
''These (former) ministers were allotted bungalows at the 'economy rate' of Rs 4,200 per month whereas the prevailing market rent is Rs 42,000. They were allotted these bungalows last October for the duration of the academic session is over. A special provision was invoked to allow their children to continue their studies,'' Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi alleged in a press conference.
Shockingly, none of these former ministers has children studying in schools or colleges, he claimed.
''Even if we assume that their children are going to schools/colleges but the last academic session is over now. Despite this, they continue to occupy these bungalows,'' Doshi alleged.
Rubbishing Doshi's claims, former education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, who was also allotted one of these ''A'' class bungalows through an order dated October 1, 2021, said the allotment was done as per the existing rules and regulations. ''I am not the only one who was allotted a bungalow. Many other former ministers were also allotted bungalows. The rent is fixed as per the rules and regulations covering ex-ministers. This is a rubbish claim which doesn't deserve a reply,'' Chudasama told PTI.
In a surprise move, the then Chief Minister Vijay Rupani resigned last September after completing five years at the helm. The BJP leadership replaced Rupani with Bhupendra Patel and dropped all the ministers serving in the Rupani cabinet.
The move to change the guard in Gujarat was believed to be aimed at blunting anti-incumbency ahead of the assembly elections, due in December this year. ''Former ministers, including the then deputy chief minister Nitin Patel, Pradipsinh Jadeja who held the Home portfolio, Saurabh Patel who was the minister for energy among others were allotted these bungalows along with Ganpatsinh Vasava, Jayesh Radadiya, Ishwar Parmar, Parshottam Solanki, Jaydratsinh Parmar, Ishwarsinh Patel, Vasanbhai Ahir, Vibhavari Dave, Ramanlal Patkar, Dharmendrasinh Jadeja and Kunvarji Bavaliya,'' alleged Doshi.
As per the government resolution dated May 31, 2015, the Gujarat Roads and Buildings Department had set the market rate for these bungalows at Rs 42,000. As per the norm, former ministers should reside in the quarters allocated for MLAs.
''The government has ensured that former ministers continue to enjoy their stay in posh bungalows at the cost of the public exchequer, while thousands of government employees have been waiting for years for the allotment of residential quarters, and several fixed-pay employees have to pay the rent equivalent to their salaries,'' Doshi claimed.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)