Himachal: Suspense Continues On CM Choice As MLAs Put Ball In Congress High Command’s Court

Suspense on the appointment of the next Himachal Pradesh chief minister continued on Friday as Congress MLAs passed a one-line resolution authorising the party high command to take a decision. The ball is now in the court of Sonia Gandhi and new national president Mallikarjun Kharge to choose the next CM of Himachal amid a show of strength by hopefuls Pratibha Singh, Mukesh Agnihotri and Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu.

The Congress wrested power from the BJP in the hill state winning 40 of the 68 assembly seats as Himachal maintained the ‘riwaaz’ (tradition) of voting out the incumbent party.

Besides the newly elected MLAs, the legislature party meeting was attended by Congress central observers — Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and former CM of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

Himachal Government Formation: Key Developments Today

  • A one-line resolution was passed in the legislature party meeting in Shimla that the Congress high command will decide the next chief minister. The CM race in Himachal intensified between state party chief Pratibha Singh and Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu. Mukesh Agnihotri is also in the race but sources told ABP News that he would pull out to make way for Sukhu as CM.
  • Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge says views of newly-elected MLAs in Himachal Pradesh are being sought to bring out consensus on who will be their leader

  • While the party’s central observers worked to find a consensus candidate, supporters of Pratibha Singh, wife of former CM Virbhadra Singh, obstructed their car and raised slogans in her endorsement. 
  • The supporters raised slogans saying that the chief minister should be from the family of Virbhadra Singh. The incident happened as the central observers, along with AICC in-charge for Himachal Pradesh Rajeev Shukla, were going to meet Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar.
  • The central leaders submitted a list of the party’s winning MLAs to the governor and “sought time” to formally stake claim to form the government.
  • Outside the hotel where the central observers are staying, supporters of Sukhwinder Sukhu gathered to press for their leader to be made the next CM. Sukhu is a five-term MLA and has risen through the ranks from the Congress wing National Student Union of India (NSUI).
  • Speaking to mediapersons ahead of the CLP meeting, Congress leader Sukhu said, “I am not a chief minister aspirant. I am just a Congress worker and whatever decision the high command would take would be accepted.”
  • Earlier in the day, Pratibha Singh, 66, stated that she is running for chief minister, a statement echoed by her son. “I am not in the race for the top post but my mother is one of the contenders for the post of chief minister,” her son and Congress MLA from Shimla Rural Vikramaditya Singh told PTI.
  • Shukla stated on Thursday that the Congress is pleased with the chance to establish the government in the state and that the party would do all possible to fulfil the ten promises made to the people of the state and to deliver better governance. 
  • Earlier in the day, Himachal Pradesh Congress in-charge Rajeev Shukla and supervisors Bhupinder Hooda, and Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel held meeting with state Congress chief Pratibha Singh and other leaders at a hotel in Shimla.