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Congress veteran Virbhadra Singh might have taken over the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh for a record sixth time but surprisingly has never moved into the official residence of the state chief minister here.
Oakover, the nineteenth century palatial bungalow was with the British for long and also the house of the Maharaja of Patiala.
After independence it became the official residence of the state’s chief minister.
Singh has preferred to stay instead at Holly Lodge, his own impressive house higher up the mountains in Jakhu.
So, Singh as the chief minister, uses it as his part-time office, mostly to meet the public. But he never stays for the night.
Oakover was, for many years, the residence of the state’s founder and the first chief minister Yashwant Singh Parmar.
After Parmar, Ram Lal Thakur and Shanta Kumar moved into this house. Thakur had to quit midway. And Shanta Kumar was ousted twice midway from the top job while living there.
For a while, the astrologers prophesised that Oakover was an inauspicious house for any chief minister.
But P K Dhumal, unmindful of this superstition, moved in twice and has just successfully completed his second term in the house.
A couple of days ago, when incoming chief minister Virbhadra Singh met the outgoing chief minister Dhumal he was in the process of moving out to Krishtan Hall, a nearby house.