Arvind Kejriwal, who had said no to a government bungalow, has reportedly rented a 5-room flat within a two kilometre radius of the Delhi Assembly. He is likely to shift in two days’ time, said party sources.
Four days before being sworn in as the seventh chief minister of Delhi, he had turned down Delhi Chief Secretary D M Sapoli’s proposal for a bungalow, one of the many perks that a chief minister enjoys.
Ending the capital’s established political culture was one of the key poll promises.
“Neither Kejriwal nor any of our cabinet ministers are taking government bungalows,” said Dilip Pandey, a senior Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member who denied reports of Kejriwal shifting to a flat near the Assembly, reiterating the AAP’s stand on abolishing “VIP culture”.
“We have said no to big bungalows; he is to shift to a guest house first and then look for a flat,” Pandey added. He also said that the ministers may shift to small government flats.
“It is likely that somebody has offered him the flat for a nominal rent,” said sources. The rent for a 5-room flat in the area could be anywhere close to one lakh rupees.
The Aam Aadmi Party office at 41, Hanuman Raod in Central Delhi was offered to Kejriwal by a party supporter for Re.1 per month on a six-month lease -- which has now been extended.
Sheila Dixit’s 3, Moti Lal Road bungalow will likely remain unoccupied and go into the pool of Director of Estates, Ministry of Urban Development, which may allocate the flats to top government and defence officials.
On the first day as the chief minister of Delhi, Kejriwal was expected to spend the night at his party office at 41, Hanuman Road. “But he didn’t come to the party office,” said Alok Kumar, an AAP member.
“He went to his flat in Kaushambi, (in Delhi’s satellite city, Ghaziabad),” said another AAP member, Sanjay Chawla. Others pointed out that the problem of traffic congestion, long queues of OB vans and frequent visitors were reasons why their party chief avoided coming to the one-storied office at Hanuman Road.