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As Priyanka Gandhi Vacates Lodhi Estate Bungalow, Lesson Learnt from Akhilesh Yadav Kept in Mind

CPWD officers inspect the bungalow before Priyanka Gandhi vacated it.

CPWD officers inspect the bungalow before Priyanka Gandhi vacated it.

A controversy had broken out when Akhilesh Yadav had vacated his official bungalow, with authorities saying he had left behind the home with broken tiles; bathroom fittings and even bulbs were taken away.

Pallavi Ghosh
  • CNN-News18 New Delhi
  • Last Updated: July 30, 2020, 11:31 PM IST
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Priyanka Gandhi on Thursday finally vacated her house of over 20 years and handed over 35, Lodhi Estate, to the central government.

For now, Gandhi has shifted to a penthouse in Gurugram but will later move into a house in Delhi. But she has clearly taken no chances to give the government anything to attack her over the state of the vacated house.

A statement issued by the Congress said, “Priyanka Gandhi Vadra handed over the possession of 35 Lodhi Estate, previously allotted to her on security grounds, to the CPWD today."

The statement said that CPWD officers accepted the keys to the bungalow after a full inspection, "establishing that the house was handed over in good condition". The officers issued her a 'Vacation Report' for the premises on behalf of the CPWD.

"Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has also passed on to the CPWD and the Directorate of Estates a full inventory of privately installed fittings, fixtures, etc. She has paid all electricity, water and previous dues and is awaiting the final assessment for the license fee of the month of July from the Directorate of Estates due to her on July 31 to close all accounts with reference to the allotment and subsequent cancellation of the lease of the government bungalow," said the party statement.

Not just this, Gandhi also released a video of her showing the authorities the house, which was cleaned and painted before being handed over. It is a clear indication that she does not want any controversy similar to what Akhilesh Yadav faced when he was forced to vacate his official accommodation after losing the elections and as per a Supreme Court order when all former chief ministers were asked to vacate their accommodations.

Yadav was accused of leaving the house stripped off all its fittings. Authorities said he had left behind the home with broken tiles; bathroom fittings and even bulbs were taken away. But Gandhi has ensured that such charges cannot be levelled against her.

In fact, when she was asked to vacate the house as she is no longer entitled to a Lutyens' bungalow as she had lost her SPG cover, Gandhi had told Urban Development Minister Hardeep Puri that she wanted no extension and would vacate the home before the deadline of August 1.

Gandhi also wrote to the new allottee, BJP MP Anil Baluni, and invited him over for tea. Baluni wrote back saying he would be unable to attend as he is unwell but that he would invite her for a "Pahadi-style" dinner once the coronavirus pandemic ends.

But the careful vacation of the bungalow is also Gandhi's way of ensuring she has an upper hand over not just the BJP but also Yadav, who is her opponent in Uttar Pradesh. There is a strategy behind the bungalow she leaves behind.

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