According to sources, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who headed the Congress’ campaign committee in Himachal Pradesh, will become the next chief minister. A 58-year-old MLA from Hamirpur district, Mr Sukhu represents Nadaun. Tomorrow he will take his oath.
Former Himachal Pradesh Congress president Raj Sukhu is also a four-time MLA and close to party leader Rahul Gandhi.
Virbhadra Singh, who died last July, did not have a smooth relationship with him.
In the past, Pratibha Singh, the wife of Virbhadra Singh, and Mukesh Agnihotri, the leader of the opposition in the outgoing assembly, have been vying for the Chief Minister’s post.
As an activist at Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla in the late 1980s, Mr Sukhu led the state unit of the National Students’ Union of India, a movement significantly different from that of the ex-royal Virbhadra Singh.
Following news that Pratibha Singh would not be the Chief Minister this evening, her supporters protested at the hotel where the party’s central observers are staying. Prior to the party’s crucial meeting yesterday, they stopped the car of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, one of the central observers.
With a sharp reminder for the Delhi leadership, Pratibha Singh staked her claim to the job. Sidelining Virbhadra Singh’s family would be “a disaster” because the elections were fought and won in his name.
Sources say she has been dropped from the contest because she does not have popular support among the party’s newly-elected 40 MLAs.
The Congress high command met on Friday and allowed the party president to choose the legislature’s party leader, who will also be the next chief minister.
By winning 40 out of 68 assembly seats, the Congress defeated the BJP in the assembly election.
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