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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Official residence occupied, Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai to operate out of guest house

While the chief minister has been finding it difficult to manage visitors at his personal residence, the official residence of the CM continues to be occupied by former CM Yediyurappa.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
August 10, 2021 4:17:24 pm
We have got indications that the official residence where chief secretary (P Ravikumar) resides now on Palace Road in Vasanth Nagar is favoured by the CM as it shares its walls with Bhagawan Sree Maruthi Temple, a senior official said. (File)

Newly-elected Chief Minister of Karnataka, Basavaraj Bommai, has decided to operate out of a government guest house in Bengaluru as the official residence ‘Cauvery’ continues to be occupied by his predecessor B S Yediyurappa.

Sources in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) told The Indian Express that Bommai – who was sworn-in on July 28 – has decided to operate from the Kumara Krupa guest house as a temporary measure. So far, the CM has been living in his private residence in north Bengaluru on a house built on a plot allotted to his late father S R Bommai, a former CM of Karnataka.

However, another residence used by CMs in the past ‘Anugraha’ is also yet to be made available. Politicians consider ‘Anugraha’ to be unlucky on account of the short tenures of CMs who lived there.

Karnataka Chief Secretary Residence (Express Photo/’Ralph Alex Arakal)

“The CM has been attending to visitors at his personal residence in RT Nagar. However, managing the huge number of guests there has been tedious. This has led to his decision to work from Kumara Krupa. This is also because former CM Yediyurappa continues to occupy Cauvery,” the source said.

Recently, the Bommai government had decided to accord cabinet status rank to Yediyurappa, which would have allowed the former CM to continue staying in ‘Cauvery’ but the latter rejected the move following criticism.

Yediyurappa can continue to live in ‘Cauvery’ if the house is allotted to Bommai and he chooses to let the former CM stay.

Bhagawan Sree Maruthi Temple near Chief Secretary’s residence (Express Photo/Ralph Alex Arakal)

A PWD official said the final decision on where to stay in Bengaluru would be left to Bommai himself. “We have got indications that the official residence where chief secretary (P Ravikumar) resides now is a favourite for the CM as it shares walls with Bhagawan Sree Maruthi Temple on Palace Road in Vasanth Nagar. The CM had visited this temple before reaching Raj Bhavan to take oath on July 28,” the official said.

The Chief Secretary’s residence is located between Balabrooie guest house and the National Gallery of Modern Art amid a thick canopy of trees, even though it is much smaller than ‘Anugraha’.

Further, the official added that renovation work will begin only after a residence is confirmed by the CMO to facilitate the CM moving in.

Further, a CMO source said Bommai was likely to meet visitors at ‘Krishna’ – the designated home office of the CM, which was used by Yediyurappa for various meetings as well. ‘Krishna’ is located adjacent to ‘Anugraha’ and has an entrance connecting the home office to the official residence.

A state government official said this was not the first time a former CM was continuing to reside in the official bungalow. “Siddaramaiah had stayed at Cauvery as a former CM for nearly six months even after H D Kumaraswamy succeeded him during the tenure of the Congress-JDS coalition,” said the official. “He (Siddaramaiah) got Cauvery allocated to (then) Industries Minister K J George to facilitate his stay,” the official explained. Kumaraswamy stayed at private facilities through his 14-month tenure as CM.

Interestingly, Siddaramaiah himself could move to ‘Cauvery’ only after nearly six months of becoming the CM in 2013. The reason for the delay then was renovations being carried out extensively to suit his tastes and to get the ‘Vaastu’ right.

Jinxed’ house

Despite being designated as the CM’s official residence, ‘Anugraha’ has been shunned in recent times by chief ministers. D V Sadananda Gowda (2011), Dharam Singh (2005) and S M Krishna (1999-2004), H D Kumaraswamy (2006-2007) and H D Deve Gowda (1994-96) have stayed in ‘Anugraha’ as chief ministers. While Krishna completed his tenure, the others had curtailed tenures.

Krishna, the home office that was in use by CM Yediyurappa for various meetings. (Express Photo/Ralph Alex Arakal)

During Kumaraswamy’s tenure, between 2006-07, bills amounting to Rs 69 lakh were run up by the PWD in making the house more “vaastu compliant” after he began living there. B S Yediyurappa in his first tenure (2008-2011) shunned the residence completely despite the PWD spending Rs 56 lakh to modify it – choosing to live instead at the Race View Cottage where he lived as a deputy chief minister to Kumaraswamy before becoming CM.

Sadananda Gowda, during his brief 11-month tenure, had however dumped superstition and moved into ‘Anugraha’. “Some people said it is a haunted house but the only ones haunting the house was us,” Gowda had said after stepping down as chief minister.

Prior to Yediyurappa and Siddaramaiah the other chief ministers who used `Cauvery’ as their official residence are Jagadish Shettar, J H Patel, S Bangarappa, Veerendra Patil and R Gundu Rao – all of whom had limited tenures.

“People say that this house has some sort of a jinx but we have had good luck while living here,” former CM Jagadish Shettar’s wife had stated after Shettar became the CM while living in `Cauvery’ as a deputy CM in 2012.

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