Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
New Delhi: After taking over the reins at the South Block, Narendra Modi on Friday moved to 7 Race Course Road, the official residence of the Prime Minister of India.
Modi, who was staying temporarily at the nearby Gujarat Bhawan, went to the 5, Race Course Road today morning and performed pooja there. He will be using 7 Race Course Road as his office.
Modi is the first solo occupant of the most powerful address in Lutyen`s Delhi. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the only other bachelor Prime Minister till date, had his adopted daughter with him at the PM`s official residence.
Given his austere lifestyle, Modi has very little to call as his personal belongings. Among his most prized possessions are his gadgets like laptop, iPod and tab. All of that along with his collection of watches and pens and other personal belongings like clothes – all packed in a few bags – were carried from Gujarat Bhawan – his abode for the past fortnight – to Race Course Road.
Modi holds a copy of `Ramacharitamanas` very dear. Those in know say that Modi draws strength from the holy book and it travels with him wherever he goes.
As Chief Minister, Modi had made it a rule to not keep the mementos and other gifts with him. He had auctioned them and donated the money for the education of girls in Gujarat.
He is expected to follow the practice in Delhi as well.
Known to be strictly against wasteful expenditure, Modi had not sought any major changes in the Race Course Road bungalow. The standing instruction given to CPWD was to carry out repair work, if any, and give a fresh coat of paint.
Though known as 7 Race Course Road, PM`s office-cum-residence is actually a set of five bungalows 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 that are spread over about 12 acres located right across the Delhi Race Course.
Bungalow No. 1 is a helipad, No. 3 is where Manmohan Singh lived with his family, No. 5 is the bungalow into which Modi has shifted. Vajpayee and Rajiv Gandhi have lived in this bungalow and it was used as a guest house by Manmohan Singh.
Bungalow No. 7 serves as Prime Minister`s office besides the one at South Block.
The Special Protection Group (SPG) - responsible for Prime Minister`s security – occupies bungalow No. 9.
Race Course Road boasts of a special banquet hall `Panchvati`. Built during Vajpayee era, it is where the PM organises receptions for state guests, the most famous one being the one held in honour of Barack Obama by Manmohan Singh.
A tunnel has been built from Race Course Road to the Safdarjung Airport, the aim being to cause no disturbance to the common man when the Prime Minister is on the move.