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‘Jinxed’ Oakover to be new Himachal CM Jai Ram Thakur’s residence

YS Parmar stayed in Oakover from 1972 to 1977 and moved to his private residence soon when Congress appointed Ram Lal Thakur as his successor.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2017 12:08 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Himachal CM,Jai Ram Thakur,Oakover
PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah with Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur in Shimla. (ANI Photo)

For the last five years, Oakover — the official residence of the Himachal chief minister — wore a deserted look as incumbent Virbhadra Singh preferred to reside in his private residence — Holy lodge — but it is abuzz with activity again as the state officials began sprucing up the building for its new occupant.

Before Oakover, Eva lodge in Chaura Maidan and old cottage in Benmore were the official residences of chief minister. YS Parmar stayed in Oakover from 1972 to 1977 and moved to his private residence soon when Congress appointed Ram Lal Thakur as his successor.

In 1977, Shanta Kumar formed the first non-Congress government. However, Oakover gained the reputation of being jinxed when Shanta Kumar- led-government was dislodged after its legislators defected to support Congress Thakur Ram Lal in 1980.

Oakover was once the summer retreat of Maharaja of Patiala but became into official residence of Himachal chief ministers when the state’s founder chief minister YS Parmar moved into the British-era building in 1972.

Thakur Ram Lal remained chief minister till 1983 until Congress replaced him with Virbhadra Singh who was minister for state industries in Indira Gandhi's cabinet.

Virbhadra Singh after taking over reigns preferred to stay in Holy lodge. Shanta Kumar in 1998 again formed the government and moved into Oakover . He renamed Oakover as Shail Kunj but his government Janata Dal-led government in the centre imposed President’s rule in the state after the demolition of Babri masjid in Ayodhya. Virbhadra Singh again formed the government this time.

Prem Kumar Dhumal who formed the government in 1998 was the first chief minister to stay in Oakover and completed his five-year tenure. Dhumal's detractor in the government triggered a revolt against him but the BJP's high command then intervened to suppress the revolt . Dhumal again completed his tenure from 2007 - 20012.

During the last five years, Virbhadra Singh used his official residence only to meet people and to host central leaders and convene meetings.

Now, chief minister-elect Jai Ram Thakur would soon be moving into Oakover and interestingly, he has directed the officials not to make many changes in contradiction to the usual trend of spending crores in sprucing up government bungalows for new appointees.

First Published: Dec 27, 2017 12:07 IST