IF India’s new prime minister chooses to live in bungalow number 3 on Race Course Road — as Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee did — he or she will probably have to wait 10-odd days for the house to be readied.
But number 5 — the bungalow in which Rajiv Gandhi lived as PM — is ready for a new occupant to move in any time.
Manmohan Singh is expected to move out of Race Course Road a day before Friday’s results. He used No. 3 as his official residence, No. 5 as a guest house, and No. 7 as his office. Five bungalows similar to each other line Race Course Road. The other two — numbers 1 and 9 — are occupied by the Special Protection Group.
“If the new PM wants to move into bungalow No. 3, he or she will have to wait for a few days. Bungalow number 5 is lying ready and can be occupied, and can also be used as temporary accommodation as the Central Public Works Department works on No. 3,” an official said. Personal requests and requirements, if any, would also have to be complied with, the official said.
Race Course Road became the PM’s address after the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984 at her 1 Safdarjung Road residence. Rajiv Gandhi was the first PM to stay at Race Course Road. 1 Safdarjung Road was converted into a memorial.
After leaving office, Manmohan Singh will move into 3 Motilal Nehru Marg, a sprawling type-VIII bungalow spread over 3.25 acres, which was until recently the home of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit. “The PM has given instructions that minimum expenditure should be incurred on repair works. Nothing beyond basic repair work is being carried out at present,” an official said.