Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu to be next Himachal Pradesh chief minister
The Congress MLA will take oath along with his deputy Mukesh Agnihotri on Sunday.
Congress MLA Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu was on Saturday named the Himachal Pradesh chief minister, reported ANI.
Party leader Mukesh Agnihotri will be Sukhu’s deputy, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel announced. The decision was taken at a Congress legislature party meeting held on Saturday evening.
The oath taking ceremony will be held on Sunday at 11 am, Baghel added.
The Congress on Thursday won the state Assembly elections by securing 40 out of 68 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party won 25 seats, while Independent candidates secured victories in the remaining three constituencies.
Sukhu, who was elected as an MLA from Nadaun in Hamirpur district, was the party’s campaign committee chief in Himachal Pradesh. He is also the former chief of the Congress state unit and is considered close to party MP Rahul Gandhi, reported NDTV.
On Saturday, Sukhu thanked party leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and the state residents, reported ANI. Our govt will bring change. He said that it is his responsibility to fulfil the promises made to the residents and that his government will work for the development of the state.
“I started my political career at the age of 17 years,” he added. “I will never be able to forget what the Congress party has done for me.”
Meanwhile, supporters of Congress MP Pratibha Singh staged a protest after speculation grew that Sukhu would be named the as the next chief minister.
Singh was being seen as the most-likely contender for the top post. A Lok Sabha MP, Singh did not contest the polls but led the party as its state unit chief. She claims the support of MLAs loyal to her husband Virbhadra Singh, who died in July last year.
Agnihotri and five-time MLA Harshwardhan Chauhan were also seen as front runners. Given a varied number of options for the top post, the Congress had feared horse-trading as the party saw itself emerging as the winner during the counting of votes on Thursday.
With the victory in the elections, the hill state has continued its tradition of voting out incumbent governments after each term. The last time that the state voted an incumbent government back to power was in 1985.
While the Congress surged comfortably ahead of the BJP in terms of seats, it was only marginally ahead in terms of vote share. The Congress got 43.9% of the votes, while the BJP received 43% of the popular mandate.
As it became clear that the Congress would wrest control of the state, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur tendered his resignation to Governor Rajendra Arlekar. He asserted that he would never stop working for the development of the state’s residents.