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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Bungalow that 'spells doom' for CMs: Harish Rawat refuses to move in

Anupam Trivedi, Hindustan Times  Dehradun, July 30, 2014
First Published: 18:56 IST(30/7/2014) | Last Updated: 16:46 IST(17/9/2014)

Politicians are allegedly bad at keeping promises.

But when Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat refused to move into the official residence earmarked for him, no one has accused him of going back on his words.
 
Rawat has his reasons for avoiding the official chief minister's residence, located at the New Cantonment Road in Dehradun.
 
The sprawling house, many in the political circles believe, was "cursed".

Close aides of Rawat reveal that the chief minister was unwilling to move to a house which has proved "inauspicious" for his predecessors.

Uttarakhand chief minister's bungalow at Dehradun's New Cantonment Road.

 

Former chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, who stayed in the bungalow after taking reins of the state in 2012, was replaced in less than two years.
 
Prior to Bahuguna, former chief minister Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri had lost the assembly elections after staying in the official address for just four months.
 
In fact, it was BJP chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank who first occupied the "doomed bungalow" in 2010 but he too failed to complete his full term in office.
 
He was replaced within two years by Khanduri.
 
The present chief minister operates from the state guest house at Bijapur which has been converted to his official residence.
 
Rawat had earlier said, "I will go to the official bungalow only after winning the by-election".
 
But after winning by-poll, he changed his mind.
 
"I am a common man. The official residence is a too big place for a common man like me," Rawat said last week.
 
Rawat stays with his wife while his two sons are mostly outside pursuing their careers. The chief minister's only daughter is based in Delhi after marriage.
 
Uttarakhand attained statehood in 2000 and the first chief minister Nityanand Swami - a Dehradun resident - operated out of his own house.
 
After ND Tiwari became the chief minister in 2002, he shifted to a British-era bungalow which served as the chief minister's residence till 2007. By then it was declared "unsafe".
 
Tiwari's successor BC Khanduri, however, occupied the circuit house and stayed there till he was replaced by Nishank who was the first to move into the new chief minister's residence, which was later to prove "inauspicious".
 
The chief minister's residence, built at a cost of Rs. 16 crore, has all the modern amenities like a swimming pool and elevator besides staff quarters and guest rooms. 
 
However, Rawat is not the only chief minister to refuse the official residence.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi too never moved into the official residence--occupied by his predecessor Prafulla Mahanta--and instead turned a state guest house into his official quarters where he has stayed for over a decade now.


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