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A house and top-tier security for Kovind

Author: Vijaita Singh
Publication: The Hindu
Date: June 22, 2017
URL:   http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/a-house-and-top-tier-security-for-kovind/article19127528.ece?utm_source=email&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter

His Delhi flat has little room for guests, hence party decides to move him to a Minister’s bungalow

Ram Nath Kovind, NDA’s presidential nominee, will share accommodation with Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma till July 17, the day of the presidential election. The government flat Mr. Kovind retained in Delhi after he moved to the Raj Bhavan in Patna as Bihar Governor in 2015 is too small to provide room to the flood of guests he has been receiving since his nomination was announced by BJP president Amit Shah on Monday.
Finding a precedence

Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu had examined if there was precedence of providing accommodation to presidential nominees. An official said the UPA government had allotted a government flat to the then President nominee, Pratibha Patil, when she moved to Delhi after resigning as Rajasthan Governor in 2007. Ms. Patil continued to stay in the flat till she moved to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Raisina Hill. An aide of Mr. Kovind said it was the party’s decision to move him to Mr. Sharma’s 10 Akbar Road bungalow. The Urban Development Ministry is the custodian of all government bungalows in Lutyens Delhi. Mr. Sharma’s Type VIII bungalow, spread over 2,000 sq.ft, the highest type of government accommodation, was chosen, as his family lives in Noida on the outskirts of Delhi.

Mr. Kovind’s flat at 144 North Avenue, which he was allotted in his capacity as a former Rajya Sabha member, has little room for security paraphernalia such as doorframe metal detectors and baggage scanners. “Moreover, it was causing inconvenience to the other two MPs on the same floor. It was decided that he shift to 10 Akbar Road,” the aide said.

The Centre also accorded Z plus security to Mr. Kovind as he moved from the Raj Bhavan in Patna to Delhi last week. The former Bihar Governor would be provided round-the-clock security cover by the elite National Security Guard commandos. “The NSG commandos will provide Mr. Kovind security till he is elected President and the Presidential Guards take over. The Delhi police have a dedicated unit for Rashtrapati Bhavan security,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said.
 
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