12, Tughlaq Lane in Lutyens’ Delhi has been synonymous with Rahul Gandhi since it was first allotted to the Congress leader in 2004 when he won his first Lok Sabha election, from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. In 2019, Gandhi lost the Amethi seat and a remark made that same year may now end up costing him the prestigious address.
Convicted for defamation over his “all Modis are thieves” remark, Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from the Lok Sabha on Friday, which means he has one month to vacate his official 12, Tughlaq Lane residence. The order disqualifying Gandhi is also marked to the Liaison Officer, Directorate of Estates, Parliament Annexe, but there is no word yet from the Urban Development Ministry, headed by Hardeep Singh Puri, on Rahul Gandhi’s eviction.
Rahul Gandhi had retained the bungalow, which comes under the highest ‘Type 8′ category, in 2019 when he lost from Amethi but won from Wayanad in Kerala.
The potential loss of the bungalow would be a heavy blow to the Gandhi family scion but pales in comparison to the threat of being barred from contesting elections, one year before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Rahul Gandhi would not be able to contest elections for eight years unless a higher court stays his conviction by a Surat court in the 2019 criminal defamation case.
The court sentenced the Wayanad MP to two years in jail in the defamation case, filed on a complaint by BJP MLA Purnesh Modi for his alleged remark, “How come all thieves have Modi as the common surname?”
In 2020, Congress general secretary and Rahul Gandhi’s sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was also asked to vacate her bungalow in Lutyens’ Delhi with the government saying she is not entitled to the facility following withdrawal of her SPG protection.
Rahul Gandhi had referred to his official address in February this year during his Bharat Jodo Yatra. The Congress leader had said he has never owned a house and had recalled the family’s experience of leaving their government accommodation in 1977.
“There was a strange atmosphere in the house. I went to mummy and asked her what happened. Ma told me that we are leaving the house…. Till that time I used to think it was our house. Then my mom told me for the first time that it was not our house, but the government’s and we have to leave it now.”
Rahul Gandhi had said he asked his mother Sonia Gandhi where they would go next. “‘Nahi maloom‘ (don’t know) my mother said. I was taken aback. I used to think it was our house… 52 years and I still don’t have a house. Our family house is in Allahabad and that is also not ours. I live at 12, Tughaq Lane but that is not my house,” he had said.
With inputs from News18