Mulayam's lifestyle costs millions to exchequer
By Sharat Pradhan,
Lucknow, May 13 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav may never tire of flaunting his socialist leanings but his luxurious lifestyle tells a different story.
Close on the heels of his fad for Toyota Land Cruisers - eight of which were purchased by his government - Mulayam's love for extravagance is reflected in the heavy expenditure incurred by the cash-starved state on the maintenance of his two official residences.
A sum of Rs.21.07 million was spent during the last financial year on the maintenance of Mulayam's two plush bungalows - the designated bungalow of the chief minister and the one allotted to him as "former chief minister".
The state has been traditionally providing furnished bungalows for lifetime to all former chief ministers. In fact, at least 10 such bungalows have been occupied either by former chief ministers or their next of kin.
Most of these palatial houses were identified and allotted by successive chief ministers during their incumbency.
Expensive renovation of the bungalows was also carried out during their respective tenures, so that they could continue to maintain their five-star lifestyles at the taxpayer's expense even after ceasing to occupy the high office.
The renovation of three bungalows earmarked for top officials in the vicinity of the chief minister's official residence cost Rs.45 million, while the maintenance cost of the official residences of 60 odd ministers worked out to just Rs.11.07 million in 2005.
Similarly, the allocation for the maintenance of as many as 600 houses belonging to the government estates department here stood at merely Rs.10 million last year.
However, Mulayam's younger brother and state Public Works Minister Shiv Pal Yadav justified the expenditure saying: "Mind you the expenditure has not been made on his personal home. After all, no chief minister can carry away the official residence."
He went on to argue, "A lot of the expenditure had to be incurred as a part of the security needs of the chief minister. Mulayam Singh Yadav has been under Z-Plus security cover for years and in the last security review the administration was advised to carry out certain changes, modifications and additions in the official residence. And no government will compromise with the chief minister's security simply because it will cost too much."
He declined to make any comment on the luxury provided in the form of high-class sanitary ware, opulent furnishings and other expensive fittings.
The chief minister was not available for comment.
Indo-Asian News Service