September 12, 2020

Row over Omar’s Bungalow vacation

Whether National Conference Vice President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been asked to vacate the J&K Government owned bungalow at highly fortified Gupkar road occupied by him since 2002 as Member Parliament or he has offered to vacate the bungalow is not the issue but real issue is the issue of entitlement. True it is that after withdrawal of statehood to Jammu & Kashmir on August 5 last year the entitlement rules of government accommodation for political leaders have changed and as per new accommodation entitlement rules the former Chief Ministers, Ex Ministers and legislators of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir assembly have lost the right to occupy the government accommodation facilities availed by them till August 5, 2019. Till the new assembly elections are held no political leader has entitlement to government accommodation either in  Srinagar or Jammu but the government too is not at liberty to discriminate political leaders in the process of allotments and evictions. Meanwhile the right of the political leaders for entitlement to government accommodation has to be defined also in case of those political functionaries also who have never ever held any public office in Jammu & Kashmir but still continue to occupy the palatial government bungalows in posh areas of Srinagar and Jammu cities just for the reasons of having affiliation to the political party presently in power at the centre and it’s allies in National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Unfortunately the dozens of political functionaries owing allegiance to the ruling party at the centre and it’s allies in National Democratic Alliance (NDA) who have never ever held any public office in Jammu & Kashmir are occupying government bungalows in the posh areas of the twin capital cities-Srinagar and Jammu. Newspapers reporting about estates department asking Omar Abdullah to vacate government owned Gupkar bungalow is just an attempt to question the morality of the former Chief Minister over the government bungalow row only for the purposes of appeasing the present government in Jammu & Kashmir and the ruling party at the centre.

Political morality has ceased to exist long back in Jammu & Kashmir and as well as other parts of the country but yet again the fact remains that people questioning the morality of others don’t bother to check their own records of morality. Seeking time to vacate the government bungalow or a volunteering to vacate it does not matter but what matters is the vacation of the government bungalow and Omar Abdullah is gladly vacating it. After Omar other former Chief Ministers , Ex Ministers and legislators of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir should follow the suit but simultaneously the government must forcibly evict those political leaders who have not held any public office even once so for as estates department has to resolve the issues of accommodation on the basis of entitlement rules but not on the grounds of political affiliations.

As otherwise irrefutable fact is that a bad practice of withdrawing government accommodations and downgrading security to leaders of the opposition parties has been set by the previous popular governments in Jammu & Kashmir and the incumbent government instead of giving up the bad practice is upgrading it  just to demonise the political leaders of the opposition parties in a hostile political atmosphere in Jammu & Kashmir. Political morality has ceased to exist long back in Jammu & Kashmir and as well as other parts of the country but yet again the fact remains that people questioning the morality of others don’t bother to check their own records of morality. Seeking time to vacate the government bungalow or a volunteering to vacate it does not matter but what matters is the vacation of the government bungalow and Omar Abdullah is gladly vacating it. After Omar other former Chief Ministers, Ex Ministers and legislators of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir should follow the suit but simultaneously the government must forcibly evict those political leaders who have not held any public office even once so for as estates department has to resolve the issues of accommodation on the basis of entitlement rules but not on the grounds of political affiliations.

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