Thursday, January 19, 2023

Congress high command to decide HP CM today or tomorrow

probables: Pratibha and Sukhu

Pratibha Singh, the widow of late Virbhadra Singh, has been one of the hopefuls to be chief minister of Himachal Pradesh. At a meeting held at Ceceil Oberoi hotel in Shimla on Friday, the MLAs did not elect anyone. They passed a one-line resolution giving authority to the Party high command to select the chief ministerial candidate. Besides Pratibha Singh, the other contenders appear to be Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, Mukesh Agnihotri and Harshvardhan Chauhan have been among those consulted by the party observers. The decision, as usual, was left to the party high command.

Pratibha Singh with husband Virbhadra Singh

There were demonstrations before the hotel when observers including Chchattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Singh Baghel and Hooda of Haryana along with Rajiv Shukla arrived. Rajiv Shukla and Sachin Pilot have been observers of the party’s high command during the elections. The demonstrations of support were organized by the supporters of Pratibha Singh and Sukhu.

Pratibha Singh is presently representing Mandi in Lok Sabha while her son Vikramaditya Singh was elected from  Shimla Rural constituency. It was Pratibha who led the election campaign for the Congress as the PCC chief.

Earlier in the day, the three observers Baghel, Hooda and Shukla met Governor of Himachal Pradesh Rajendra Viswanath Arlekar at Shimla. They handed over to the Governor a memorandum requesting him to invite their party to form the Government. They handedover the list of forty MLAs who won on the Party’s symbol.

Speaking to NDTV earlier, Pratibha Singh said it is only natural that someone from late Virbhadra Singh’s family is selected to lead the State since the elections were fought and won in his name.

Sukhu has been the rising star of the Congress. He was activist in Himachal Pradesh university, Shimla. He led the NSUI HP unit in late 1980s. Graduating to a fulltime politician, he was president of the State Youth Congress in the 2000s. Though he is an outsider to Shimla, he won municipal elections from the State capital twice. He rose to the level of PCC chief. Kuldeep Rathod replaced him as a method of compromise among factions. After Virbhadra Singh’s death last year, he wife, a rani, was made the PCC chief to factor the symapathy for the departed leader who was chief minister for six times. He is a third time MLA from Nadaun in Hamirpur district. He is an advocate by education.

In contrast, Pratibha Singh is a third-time MP. Her power is drawn from the fact that she belongs to royal family and wife of former CM Virbhada Singh, the royal scion of Rampur-Bushahr. Her supporters insist that votes were sought in the name of ‘raja saheb.’

The third contender Mukesh Agnihotri was the leader of Opposition in the outgoing government. He was a journalist and won Assembly elections for five times. He was very close to former chief minister Virbhadra Singh.

K. Ramachandra Murthy
K. Ramachandra Murthy
Founder & Editor

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