Priyanka, Hardeep Puri spar over ‘extension’ to vacate Lutyens’ bungalow


It seems the controversy related to the eviction of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra from 35 Lodhi Estate is not going to die down soon. In a fresh salvo, the Congress leader on Tuesday reacted to a news story about how she had approached the government for an extension of two more months to vacate the house and how Prime Minister Narendra Modi, showing a “large heart”, agreed for it. Tagging the report, she tweeted: “This is fake news. I have not made any such request to the government. As per the eviction letter handed to me on the 1st of July, I will be vacating the government accommodation at 35 Lodhi Estate by the 1st of August.”

 However, Priyanka’s remark drew a sharp rejoinder by Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri who took to social media and tweeted: “Facts speak for themselves. A powerful Congress leader with much clout in the party called me on 4th July at 12.05 pm to request that 35 Lodhi Estate be allotted to another Congress MP so that Priyanka Gandhi can stay on. Let’s not try to sensationalise everything, Please.” This tweet clearly showed that the government was not willing to take things lying down.

Priyanka retaliated and reiterated that she has made no such request. She responded to Puri’s tweet: “If someone called you Mr Puri, I thank them for their concern, and thank you for your consideration as well, but it still does not change the facts: I have made no such request, and I am making no such request. As I said, I will be vacating the house by the 1st of August as required in the eviction letter.”

 The minister, however, was in no mood to let go of this and gave out more details of the caller which left nothing to imagination as far as the identity of the caller is concerned. Puri tweeted, “The leader who called me, & many others, is at the very top of the Congress hierarchy… the same political advisor who speaks and acts on your family’s behalf. It was when he requested that we decided to give a two-month extension in good faith.” The minister added: “Would only request you to first sort out these issues within your own party before venting in public. Streak of entitlement & playing victim don’t go well together.”

Meanwhile, Priyanka seems all set to shift out of Lutyens’ zone. A source close to her family told The Daily Guardian that she has started shifting to Sukhdev Vihar in south Delhi where her husband Robert Vadra has an office. “Much of the shifting work has been done and she is certainly going to vacate 35, Lodi Estate days before the deadline ends. After the Central government’s notice to vacate the Lodi Estate bunglow before 1 August, a house hunt took place and a bungalow at Jor Bagh in Lutyens’ zone was also considered, but the deal could not be finalised,” the source said.

“An option for shifting to Gurugram was also considered, but there were some security issues with the Haryana government, so it was decided to shift to Sukhdev Vihar,” the source quoted above said. As the house at Sukhdev Vihar is much smaller than her previous residence, much of her belongings have been shifted to her mother Sonia Gandhi and brother Rahul Gandhi’s residences.