Out of power after helming Punjab as Chief Minister for 10 years since 2007, Parkash Singh Badal is in a house-hunting mode nowadays. On Sunday, he "politely" declined the new Congress government's offer of free government accommodation in the state capital Chandigarh.
The Amarinder Singh government had offered a suitable bungalow in the City Beautiful to Badal, a five-time Chief Minister of Punjab.
Badal said: “I am thankful to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for his gracious gesture. It is very graceful of him to make this offer. But I am making my own arrangements for stay. I value his sentiment highly and fully reciprocate it.”
The veteran Akali leader's aides are hunting for a house for him in Sector 8 for a week now.
Badal’s family owns two big-sized plots of residential land, measuring almost 1.5 acres, in upscale Sector 9, but a new structure is coming up after the old one was pulled down.
Badal, 89, lived in the chief ministerial bungalow in Chandigarh's tony Sector 2, before his Shiromali Akali Dal was routed in the 4 February assembly elections.
Since Badal is only a legislator from Lambi and his party has only 15 legislators in the new assembly, he does not qualify for the status of Leader of Opposition and hence not officially entitled to a government bungalow.
Badal, the country's oldest serving Chief Minister till his party was decimated in the electoral battle, did not attend the swearing-in of Amarinder Singh on 16 March.