Dada to 10 Rajaji Marg?

January 15 2017

Incumbent president Pranab Mukherjee, when he will no longer be president, is likely to vacate the 285-room Rashtrapati Bhavan, spread over 300 acres of land, and reside for the rest of his life in a government accommodation at 10, Rajaji Marg. The house now carries the name of Union Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma on the door plaque. But it is learnt that Sharma has been ‘advised’ to look for a new address for himself. Sources say that it was Pranab-da’s express desire to stay put in the Rashtrapati Bhavan complex in one of the four plush bungalows in the compound. But citing protocol factors, he has been told otherwise.
Like former President, late APJ Abdul Kalam, Pranab-da is also known to be an avid reader. Kalam, when he was to demit office, had asked for a house that had a good library. The 11,776 square feet, duplex bungalow at the address on Rajaji Marg meets the request very well. One of the two floors of the house is a well stacked library.
In any case, there are only three such bungalows in Lutyens’ Delhi that fulfill the benchmarks of a home for a retired President of India. Apart from the one on Rajaji Marg, the other two are on 31, Aurangzeb Road and 7, Tughlak Road.
Prior to Kalam shifting in, the bungalow on Rajaji Marg used to be shared by two powerful bureaucrats: former Prasar Bharati CEO BS Lalli and power secretary Anil Razdan.
After Mahesh Sharma vacates the house, Pranab-da will surely redecorate the house to his tastes, but his eyes, and intellect, will be focused on the first floor reading space and library.

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