Nana Patole finally moves out of official residence

Strap: The state has waived off arrears of rent – nearly 2.5 lakh – due from the time Patole ceased to be the speaker of the Legislative Assembly

Mumbai: State Congress chief Nana Patole vacated the ministerial bungalow, opposite Mantralaya a fortnight ago, where he overstayed since February 2021 (an official residence must be vacated in 15 days). Patole has moved into a flat in Sukhada building, at Pochakhanawla Road, Worli, after the state rejected his request to convert the bungalow into Congress office. Meanwhile, the state has waived off arrears of rent – nearly 2.5 lakhs — due from the time Patole ceased to be the speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

Patole assumed this position soon after the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government took over. As a speaker he was allotted the A–9 bungalow. But he resigned in February 2021 and was made the state Congress chief. The Public Works Department (PWD) ministry, which controls all bungalows, was then with the Congress.

In his plea to the government to retain A-9 bungalow as the Congress office, Patole had said that the party office — Gandhi Bhavan — was demolished for the Metro 3 project (connecting Colaba and Seepz) with space for the Maharastra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) given in Tanna House, Colaba, which was inconvenient for lack of office and parking space. Hence, Patole had argued for A-9 till the office was rebuilt by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC).

The Congress had also maintained that the Shiv Sena was allowed to use another bungalow in the same complex as their island city office, called Shivalay. PWD officers said that one minister of state from Sena had converted his official bungalow for party use during the BJP-Sena rule from 2014 to 2019, but Patole was not permitted.

The then additional chief secretary of general administration department Sujata Saunik had stated that residence can’t be converted into an office.

Speaking to the HT, Dilip Deshmukh, deputy secretary of the general administration department said, “Nana Patole was refused permission on many occasions, but the government decided to waive off the rent of nearly 2.5 lakhs. The bungalow was allotted to health minister Tanaji Sawant last week and is being refurbished.”

Speaking about the move, Congress’s chief spokesperson, Atul Londhe, said, “CM Eknath Shinde was quite keen to allow Nana Patole to use the A-9 bungalow as Congress office, but the deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis stopped it.”