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Sorry, But No: Nitish Kumar Turns Down Tejashwi Yadav's Request

PATNA:  Weeks after ejecting Lalu Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav from the government, the Bihar government has signaled its determination to have him evicted from the palatial bungalow located next to the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s official residence as well. For the second time in two weeks, the government on Friday rejected every argument that the junior Yadav had made in a desperate attempt to retain the bungalow that he had renovated at considerable public expense when he was Bihar deputy chief minister and the building construction minister.

It possibly hasn’t helped Tejashwi Yadav that he has been continuously flinging sharp darts at his former boss ever since Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) swapped the RJD-Congress combine with the BJP as its alliance partner in July. That move edged out the 27-year-old Yadav from the deputy chief minister’s chair on which Mr Kumar’s new friend Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP sits.

Seen as Lalu Yadav’s political heir, Tejashwi Yadav had to settle for the Leader of Opposition’s post that Sushil Kumar Modi had held earlier.

Now Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wants the two to swap their bungalows too.

“One should not develop any personal attachment towards a government facility. Today I am on the seat, but it is not permanent,” the Chief Minister said on Monday, an advice aimed at his former deputy.

But Tejashwi Yadav appears to be too fond of his bungalow to let it go so easily. Chief Minister Kumar is his next door neighbour and his parents, former chief ministers Lalu Yadav and Rabri Devi live just across the road.

The 1, Polo Road bungalow that the government wants him to move into is a few kilometres away.

It was first allotted to Mr Modi when he first became Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister in 2005. But he was allowed to retain the house in 2013 when Nitish Kumar ended his 17-year-old alliance with the BJP and Mr Modi became the opposition leader.

Tejashwi Yadav is invoking this precedent as one of the reasons why he should also be allowed to retain his bungalow irrespective of whether he was a minister or an opposition leader.

But the government has thrown the rule-book at him, pointing that his 5, Circular Road bungalow had since then been designated as the official house for the Deputy Chief Minister, or the Number 2 in the Bihar Cabinet.

Standing up for his son, Lalu Yadav today brushed aside questions about his son seeking a special treatment from Nitish Kumar for the house. “He has no love for the bungalow,” father Yadav said.

Given how the Bihar government had rejected multiple requests from Tejashwi Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Party sources said the Yadav household was reconciling to the fact that Lalu Yadav’s younger son would have to move out. But it is being suggested that he may not move into his official bungalow but opt to move in with his father across the road.