The Congress party which was voted out of power by the people of India in 2014, has possibly seen its fortunes slowly shift from bad to worse.
From losing power in states like Maharashtra, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to not being able to dislodge the BJP in Gujarat when the latter was riddled with intense anti-incumbency, the party, some might say, now looks only a shade of its former shelf.
If this wasn’t enough, the party may now be rendered homeless if the Modi government’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has its way. This Ministry headed by Hardeep Singh Puri, was incidentally created in July of last year by merging the urban development, housing and urban poverty alleviation ministries.
As reported, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has moved a note before the cabinet committee on accommodation, seeking the immediate eviction of the Congress party from the Seva Dali office at 26 Akbar Road, the 5 Raisina Road property, which doubles up as the Indian Youth Congress office and CII/109 Chanakyapuri.
Apart from this, the note strikes at the heart of the Congress party by seeking its eviction from 24 Akbar Road, which has housed its party headquarters from 1976.
This note comes after the Directorate of Estates falling under the Urban Development Ministry, had cancelled the allotment of the these four bungalows in January, 2015. The violation of the Congress seems to be that, a political party is only given allotment of such premises for three years during which time it has construct its office and vacate the allotted premises after the prescribed period is over.
The Congress as it turns out, was provided a land at 9-A Rouse Avenue, back in June 2010 for constructing a new party office but when the period of three years got over, it sought an extension by claiming that its building plan was not sanctioned.
The party since then has successfully managed to keep getting extensions for its 24 Akbar Road property, which ends on October 2018. The party is asking that it be allowed to continue occupying all the four properties till that duration but the permission might only be provided for 24 Akbar road bungalow.
We had reported in the past how this government had taken a tough stance against politicians and bureaucrats overstaying at official residences.
To do that, the government had amended the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971. which meant that the eviction process would start within three days after the allotted grace time was over.
Plus in order to get a stay, the occupants could only knock the doors of the High court or Supreme Court and not the district courts. This takes time and can’t be done in three days. Apart from this, the illegal occupants were also required to pay steep fines of about Rs 10 lakh for an overstay of about five months.