The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadav was in the city yesterday for an event that had all the makings of a landmark in the state’s troubled history with Maharashtra. It was the inauguration of the sprawling 30,000 square foot Uttar Pradesh Bhawan in Vashi, with an entire floor allotted solely for the chief minister’s stays.
At the function, Yadav made all the right noises about how bureaucrats of the state would now have a home away from home in Maharashtra. And just when it was time for him to step into the lavish apartment waiting for him, Yadav did an about turn and drove off to an uber-expensive five-star hotel in Bandra (West) for his overnight stay.
The ground plus four-storey structure in Vashi, Navi Mumbai, was built with Rs 32 crore of the taxpayers’ money. The CM’s suite is fit for a king, with a sprawling bedroom, an antechamber, and a private gymnasium. It stretches into an adjoining terrace and comes with an attached room where his officer on special duty can work.
Other amenities in the bright red building include five executive suites, 10 guest rooms with one earmarked for women, and a conference hall. The Bhawan also houses 10 shops, one rest room and a hall.
Addressing the media after the inauguration, Yadav said, “Now, when ministers and bureaucrats of Uttar Pradesh come to Mumbai, they don’t have to stay in other places — they will have their own space to stay. The Bhawan isn’t very huge but sufficient enough to accommodate everyone.”
After such grand assertions, therefore, it was only expected that the CM would spend the night at the apartment waiting to be graced by his presence. But giving it a very wide berth, Yadav left soon after the inauguration and headed towards the hotel in Bandra.
Samajwadi Party spokesperson Abdul Qadir Chaudhary initially denied having any information about Yadav’s chosen place of stay. “I wouldn’t know where he’s staying tonight, because of security reasons. But he isn’t flying today, and would leave Mumbai only on Friday morning.”
Asked if Yadav was staying in the Bandra hotel, Qadir said, “Yes, he’s staying at the hotel and will fly out tomorrow morning in the state aircraft. He has a dinner meeting in the evening with some people at a different five-star hotel in South Mumbai, and as it would get late, he will stay at the hotel and fly in the morning.”
Political opponents complained that the Bhawan had no accommodations from common people from Uttar Pradesh. Munna Tripathi, president of the Uttar Bhartiya Vikas Parishad, and a Congress member, said, “When the chief minister inaugurated such an expensive Bhawan, he should have stayed there, and not in a five-star hotel.
This Bhawan doesn’t have a single room reserved for the common man from Uttar Pradesh. The VIPs are rich and can stay at their own expense, but the poor visitors from UP who come here for treatment and other work should be given accommodation there. The money spent on the Bhawan was huge, and an inquiry should be conducted to see why no space has been reserved for the common man.”