Stokes elected CLP leader, HPCC chief Viplov Thakur resigns

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Shimla, Jan 10 (UNI) Former Himachal Power Minister Vidya Stokes was elected leader of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Legislature Party (CLP) here today, while HPCC President Viplov Thakur resigned from her post, owning moral responsibility for the debacle in the recent assembly polls.

The election of the leader was a smooth affair as central observers Mohsina Kidwai and R K Dhawan had stated at the very outset that Mrs Stokes was the High Command's choice for the post.

They asked the newly-elected members to pass a one-line resolution, authorising the High Command to decide the leader and after individually meeting the members declared that there was a consensus on her name.

Former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had already announced that he was not keen on becoming the leader of the CLP but had thrown his weight behind former Irrigation and Public Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur, whom Ms Stokes today pipped at the post.

In an apparent move to show solidarity, a few legislators owing allegiance to the former chief minister reached the venue for the meeting late and hudled together in a group.

However, this did not deter the observers from implementing the High Command directive.

In a related development, HPCC president Viplov Thakur resigned the post owning moral responsibility for the defeat and her resignation was accepted.

The observers said Ms Thakur had been asked to continue till the new president was appointed.

In 1998, Mr Singh had managed to remain the leader of the party after its defeat in assembly polls as he got himself elected immediately after the declaration of results and staked the claim to form a Government.

He was sworn in as Chief Minister but had resigned as he failed to prove majority.

But even after his resignation from the post of Chief Minister he had retained the post of CLP leader till he became Chief Minister again in 2003.

UNI AS JN RL RS1822

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