Lucknow that had been her home for years. Mayawati had, two days ago, surrendered the first bungalow allotted to her as a former chief minister but had been seen to be reluctant to leave the 13A Mall Avenue. She, as chief minister in 2011, had formally notified it as a memorial to party founder Kanshi Ram.

“Today, I am also vacating the portion at the Kanshi Ram Memorial where I used to stay. But this should continue to be a memorial and it is the responsibility of the Uttar Pradesh government to maintain and secure it,” Mayawati announced this evening.

Before she handed over the keys, she took journalists for a tour of the palatial five-acre, 10-bedroom bungalow, made of Rajasthan sandstone and pink marble. Most of it is the memorial, she said, also showing them the “small part” of the bungalow she occupied as caretaker.

“Media must have been forced to write things about my perceived reluctance to vacate this bungalow. I was not reluctant, the deadline to vacate the bungalow is not yet over,” she said.

The deadline, set by the Uttar Pradesh Estate Department to former chief ministers asking them to vacate their official bungalows, expires tomorrow.

She might have vacated this palatial bungalow, but she has a place to go. “I will shift to my private bungalow today,” she said. Her private bungalow, just a few metres away and on the same road, is even more opulent.

Uttar Pradesh’s two other chief ministers, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, who also lost their government bungalow after a Supreme Court ruling, have moved into a three double-room suites at the state capital’s VVIP guest house.

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Last month, Mayawati’s aide and senior BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra had met with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and handed over a five-page letter signed by her along with government documents that he said proved that Mayawati did not need to vacate the Mall Avenue bungalow.

The documents date back to 2011, when Mayawati was Chief Minister. The BSP says the bungalow was then declared a Kanshi Ram memorial in which Mayawati could stay for life “as she only uses two rooms and is the effective caretaker of the property”.

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