Look Which Minister is Getting President Kalam's Bungalow

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Mahesh Sharma said he was getting President APJ Abdul Kalam's former home as an official accommodation after an 11-month wait.


New Delhi:  The sprawling two-storey bungalow where former president APJ Abdul Kalam lived for the last eight years will go to Mahesh Sharma, the minister who had controversially said that Dr Kalam was a "nationalist and humanist despite being a Muslim."

Dr Kalam's family has moved out of the bungalow,10 Rajaji Marg, to make way for its new occupant.

"I have a lot of respect for him. The walls of the house will keep his memories and ideals alive for me," Mahesh Sharma, the minister of state for Culture, told reporters.

The former president known as India's missile man was allotted the house in 2007 and lived there till his death in July. Dr Kalam had picked this house - one of the only six double-storey government bungalows in Delhi - because he wanted a separate floor for his library and study.

On social media, the government's decision to allot the illustrious house to a junior minister known for his outrageous comments has drawn criticism.

Recently, Mr Sharma described as an "accident" the mob killing of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh's Dadri over beef-eating rumours. Days later, he said writers who had returned their awards in protest should stop writing.

The bungalow has a rich history; it was home to Edwin Lutyens, the British architect who designed what is known as "Lutyen's Delhi" - the address of India's most powerful politicians and bureaucrats.

There were demands from friends and supporters of Dr Kalam to convert the bungalow into a memorial for the People's President but his family has remained silent.

During his stay, the popular president planted nearly 80 Chinese orange trees and some lemon trees brought specially from Hyderabad. A 109-year-old Arjun tree was his favourite, say the staff.

Dr Kalam had bristled at a 12-lakh renovation project proposed for lawns of the house because of water-logging. He tore up the project documents saying he did not feel it was right to spend so much on a house for a former president.

The Army Chief and the Lok Sabha Speaker also stay in similar two-storey bungalows.


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