NEW DELHI: Union minister of state for culture Mahesh Sharma has just got a Diwali gift from the government. A first-time MP and a minister, of state rank though with independent charge, Sharma has been given a new address: 10 Rajaji Marg, which is a 1,094 sq m (11,776 sq ft) built-up bungalow on a sprawling 7,367 sq m land.
The house was occupied by former President APJ Abdul Kalam who died in July. Originally, it was a labour of love built for himself by Edwin Lutyens, the architect behind the section in the capital now known as New Delhi. The move to allot Sharma the bungalow has drawn sharp reactions from other political parties.
The culture minister had drawn criticism when he praised the late former President for being a nationalist despite being a Muslim. He was even asked by the BJP to pipe down and keep a low profile.
When asked about the renaming of Delhi’s Aurangzeb Road as A P J Abdul Kalam Road, Sharma had then told a TV channel, “Aurangzeb Road ka bhi naam badal kar ek aise mahapurush ke naam par kiya hai jo Musalmaan hote hue bhi itna bada rashtravadi aur manavtavadi insaan tha, APJ Abdul Kalam. Unke naam par kiya gaya hai.
Mahesh Sharma, today, said, “I am very happy and delighted that I have been allotted that house. I respect Kalam ji a lot. It has been allotted by the normal procedure.”