External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and his deputy Shashi Tharoor are ready to vacate their luxury hotel rooms following Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's call for austerity.
"I have requested both the ministers to vacate the hotel rooms and go to their respective Bhavans where they have come from, where they have been elected", Mukherjee told media-persons in New Delhi.He said both of them are ministers in the External Affairs Ministry, which has a guest block in the Hyderabad House. "They can occupy... and both of them have agreed to vacate hotel rooms today itself," Mukherjee said.
Krishna said that his government allotted house was not ready for occupation and he will continue to make "private arrangements" for his stay in Delhi. Krishna, who was staying at Hotel Maurya Sheraton, has now moved to Foreign Services Institute (FSI) guest house, informed sources said. "I have made some private arrangements and I will continue to make the same kind of private arrangements for my stay in Delhi," Krishna said.
Tharoor, in a posting on Twitter said,'I would be ashamed if I was spending the people's money. But I'm not, I'm spending my own savings.... It is a non-story. I wasn't spending taxpayer's money or using any government privilege' Justifying Mukherjee's intervention in the matter, Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said he is a very senior minister and the decision (to move out) has been left upto the two ministers.
The government had yesterday appealed to all the ministries to observe austerity in view of the pressure on its finances. The Finance Ministry had also ordered a 10 per cent cut in non-plan expenditure by way of slashing foreign and domestic travel, publicity expenses and ban on conferences in five-star hotels.