Despite his controversial 'Kalam comment', Mahesh Sharma allotted ex-President's bungalow
New Delhi: Tourism and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma has been allotted the bungalow of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, a month after he described the renowned scientist as “a great nationalist despite being a Muslim.”
Kalam was staying at the 10 Rajaji Marg residence after his eventful term as President ended in 2007.
"I have been allocated 10 Rajaji Marg by the Urban Development Ministry and I have accepted the offer," Sharma, who has been staying at his own residence in Sector 15, Noida said.
Meanwhile, demands to turn Dr Kalam's last home into a memorial became stronger after the development. Bhagwan Singh, a journalist from Tamil Nadu, has filed a petition on Change.org asking Kalam's home to be turned into a Knowledge Centre.
The petition titled 'Don't Insult Dr. Abdul Kalam! Make his Delhi home a Knowledge Centre' describes "Thousands of Dr. Kalam's books and documents that he worked on through his life, the Veena that he often played, are being boxed up, so that Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, who has been in the news recently for his sexist and discriminatory comments, can move in."
Asked about the demand from friends and supporters of Kalam to convert the Rajaji Marg residence into a memorial, the controversial minister said, "It is the government's policy not to convert any Lutyen's bungalow into a memorial. RLD leader Ajit Singh had also demanded converting the Tughlaq Road residence of his late father Charan Singh into a memorial but the demand was not accepted."
The former President's house has to be vacated by October 31, 2015 and his belongings, which includes numerous books and his Veena, have been shifted out to his home town Rameshwaran in Tamil Nadu.
"I am getting an official accommodation after 11 months. Earlier I was allotted 7 Tyagraj Marg but I could not move there as it was not vacated by the earlier occupant," Sharma said.
(With inputs from agencies)