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Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu likely to be Himachal Pradesh’s next chief minister: Congress

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Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, who led the Congress campaign committee in Himachal Pradesh, will be the state’s next chief minister. ANI

New Delhi: Amid the drama that has unfolded in the hill state since Saturday morning, Congress has chosen Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, who led the Congress campaign committee in Himachal Pradesh as the state’s next chief minister. Sukhu is the MP for Nadaun constituency.

People familiar with the latest developments told news agencies that the Congress leadership cleared Sukhu’s name for the post of chief minister.

The new Chief Minister is expected to be elected as the leader of the Congress Legislative Party at a meeting of newly elected party MPs in Shimla on Saturday evening. He is likely to be sworn in on Sunday.

Sukhu effectively edged out Congress leader Pratibha Singh, who had eyed the CM post and even reminded senior Congress brass that the Himachal Pradesh Assembly election was contested and won citing the name of her husband, former CM Virbhadra Singh – who passed away last year.

However, she is not very popular among newly elected Himachal legislators, which could be one of the main reasons why the Congress leadership decided to choose Sukhu as the next CM of Himachal.

Congress Speaker Mallikarjun Kharge had previously indicated that party monitors dispatched to the hill state were seeking input from all party legislators and would convey their views to him, based on which the party would make a decision on the chief ministerial candidate.

On Thursday, Congress wrested power from the BJP in Himachal Pradesh, winning a total of 40 of the 68 assembly seats. The election of the assembly took place on November 12 and the results were announced on December 8.

Apart from Himachal Congress leader Pratibha Singh, opposition leader in the outgoing assembly Mukesh Agnihotri was also in the running for the post of chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.

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