Now, Vasundhara's law on accommodation to ex-CMs under lens

Now, Vasundhara's law on accommodation to ex-CMs under lens

 Vasundhara Raje

The office of the former chief minister Ashok Gehlot has written a letter to the General Administrative Department (GAD) and sought status over bungalow allowed to him in Jaipur's Civil Lines area.

The letter was written by Gehlot’s private secretary and Rajasthan Administrative Service officer Devaram Saini after the Supreme Court on Monday rejected the amendment to a Uttar Pradesh legislation which allows former chief ministers to retain government accommodation even after demitting office.

In Rajasthan, too, the Vasundhara Raje government had brought in a law granting government accommodation to former chief ministers for life. The Rajasthan Ministers' Salaries (Amendment) Bill, 2017, was introduced and passed in the Assembly during the 2017 Budget Session.

As per the Bill, a former chief minister will continue to hold the possession of the bungalow even if he or she is appointed at any other position. Moreover, the Bill makes them eligible for a car, a driver, a telephone and 10 staff members.

In case the facility is not availed by a former chief minister, the government will reimburse the fixed monthly amount.

However, the bill was opposed in the Assembly by the Opposition and within the BJP as well. Interestingly, senior BJP leader and four-time MLA Ghanshyam Tiwari said in the Assembly that the bill is an attempt to implement "feudalism" in Rajasthan. Back then, Tiwari had also protested outside Vasundhara's residence and challenged her to vacate the house.

While the Bill gives all former chief ministers the right to facilities equivalent to Cabinet ministers as long as they live, the Supreme Court on Monday said a chief minister is no different from a common man once his or her term ends and cannot retain government accommodation after demitting office.

Often known as a rebel, Tiwari, in reaction to the Supreme Court's order, said, "The Rajasthan government, too, must repeal a similar Bill after the SC quashed the bill introduced in Uttar Pradesh."

Vasundhara had refused to move into the chief minister's official residence (8, Civil Lines) after she came back to power in December and continued to live in 13, Civil Lines (accommodation allotted to her during 2008-2013).