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Cong legislators pass on the buck to ‘High Command’

Former CM Virbhadra Singh's legacy haunts Congress at this crucial stage as contest becomes intriguing

Shimla: Newly elected Congress legislators met on Friday to elect a new Chief Minister after the party returned to power after a gap of five years with a majority in the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly.
Congress Party in-charge for Himachal, Rajeev Shukla, alongwith Chhattisgarh Chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda conducted the CLP meeting in Shimla to sort out leadership issues in the State. The observers could hardly manage to reach the state Congress HQ, as supporters of Pratibha Singh seeking to anoint her as state head by legacy. Pratibha, wife of erstwhile CM Virbhadra Singh and state president led the Party to a comfortable majority with winning 40 out of 68 seats.

Virbhadra Singh had been CM of the state for two terms, 9 times MLA and 5 times as Member of Lok Sabha, had died in July 2021, leaving behind the mantle of his legacy on wife Pratibha Singh and elder son Vikramaditya Singh.

Party workers have been demanding Rani as the next Chief Minister over-riding claims of election publicity in-charge Sukhvinder Singh ‘Sukhu’ and Mukesh Agnihotri.  The infighting in both the parties Congress and BJP has been there from the day of declaration of elections to the State Assembly.

The observers reached the Himachal Pradesh Bhawan in Chandigarh on Thursday to oversee the leadership issue and to check horse-trading.
Outgoing Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur of the BJP resigned on Thursday night. He met Governor Rajinder Vishavnath Arhlekar and also handed over a resolution dissolving his cabinet.
Baghel, Hooda and Rajiv Shukla reached Shimla by air from Chandigarh and all MLAs have been told to assemble at the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan and choose a Chief Minister.
As is learnt that Himachal Pradesh Congress chief Pratibha Singh and Vikramaditya may assert themselves for the Chief Minister’s office.
Pratibha Singh stated that the choice of electing a legislator to the top state post would be done after a meeting with central observes at Chandigarh as the meeting was convened a day earlier.
With the defeat of party stalwarts like Kaul Singh Thakur, Ram Lal Thakur and Asha Kumari, there are only four to five suitable contenders for the top post.
The party may tread cautiously to avoid factionalism. (UNI)

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