Dhumal, ex-English teacher, to rule Himachal | india | Hindustan Times
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Dhumal, ex-English teacher, to rule Himachal

india Updated: Dec 28, 2007 14:56 IST
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Prem Kumar Dhumal, a former English lecturer who took to politics two decades ago, is set to be the new chief minister of Himachal Pradesh for a second time.

An unassuming man who easily mingles with people, Dhumal confidently led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to a facile win in Shimla.

BJP leaders point out that even at age 63, Dhumal has the ability to remember by name people he has been introduced to.

Dhumal taught English literature at Doaba College near Jalandhar in neighbouring Punjab until the early 1980s.

He entered active politics in 1982 when he became the BJP's Yuva Morcha (Youth Wing) state unit president.

He contested the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat in 1984 but lost. He won the same seat in 1989, 1991 and again in a 2007 by-election. He is currently an MP.

In 1993 he was elected the BJP state unit president. He became chief minister of the state for the first time in 1998 and ruled the state for five years.

And although he could not ensure the BJP's victory in 2003, the fighter in him kept the party's spirits high.

Dhumal was the leader of the opposition in the state assembly from 2003.

He hails from the district of Hamirpur, which is a major recruitment ground for the Indian Army.

A man who is careful not to rub people the wrong way, Dhumal has shown remarkable ability to be in the good books of all the BJP leaders such as LK Advani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Narendera Modi and Rajnath Singh.

Many say this enabled the BJP high command to push his name ahead of his mentor Shanta Kumar for the chief minister's post. Shanta Kumar is seen as a far more rigid man.

After his victory in Hamirpur now, Dhumal said he would take the oath of office and secrecy as chief minister in Shimla on Sunday.