Congress leader Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu will take the oath as Himachal Pradesh’s seventh Chief Minister today. Sukhu, MLA from Nadaun in the hill state’s Hamirpur district, headed the Congress’ campaign committee for the recently held state polls
He was chosen by the Congress high command for the top post amid hectic lobbying by Pratibha Singh, Congress MP and the wife of former Chief Minister and Congress veteran, the late Virbhadra Singh. He will take oath at 11 am today.
Staking claim to the Chief Minister post, Ms Singh had said the Congress contested and won the elections in the name of Virbhadra Singh, and it would be “a disaster” to sideline his family. But, party sources said she doesn’t enjoy the support of the party’s newly elected 40 MLAs and this hit her prospects.
Following the high command’s move to select Sukhu, Ms Singh told reporters last evening that she accepted the decision. The MLAs had earlier asked the Congress high command to select the legislature party leader, who will also be the Chief Minister.
Sukhu, a former state Congress president known to be close to party leader Rahul Gandhi, did not have a smooth working relationship with six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who died last year.
A four-time MLA, Mr Sukhu is the son of a bus driver and started his political career from the campus of Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla. He then led the Congress students’ wing state unit and gradually rose through the ranks.
His ordinary background, which is in stark contrast to the royal lineage of Virbhadra Singh, helped him carve out an image of a self-made leader who worked at every level of the party for four decades. A lawyer by education, he is considered to be a Team Rahul member. The choice of a worker-turned-leader over royal inheritors is also apt messaging by the Congress at a time when Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ has working at the grassroots as a key theme.
Mukesh Agnihotri, also a contender for the Chief Minister post and a protege of Virbhadra Singh, has been chosen for the Deputy Chief Minister post in a balancing act by the Congress. While Pratibha Singh is the state Congress president, her son Vikramaditya Singh may also get an important cabinet post as the high command tries to pacify them.
Featured Video Of The Day
NDTV Ground Report From Tamil Nadu Town Hammered By Cyclone Mandous