Congress Himachal MLAs to decide next CM today: Here are contenders for the top job
Will it be late Virbhadra Singh's wife Pratibha or former party chief Sukhwinder Singh? Congress to decide on Himachal Pradesh's next Chief Minister today
New Delhi, Dec 09: Congress, which pulled out a surprise win in Himachal Pradesh proving many political pundits wrong, will meet on Friday to sift through candidates' list and decide on who should be the next Chief Minister of the state. The Himachal Congress Legislature Party meeting is scheduled at 3 pm at State Congress Headquarters in Shimla today.
Going by the reports, the legislatures elected from Congress are likely to pass a resolution and authorise the party's high command to take the final call for the CM post as the state went for poll without projecting a Chief Ministerial candidate. Let us look at some of the probable names doing the rounds for the post.
The first name in the list is Pratibha Singh, wife of late Virbhadra Singh who was an immensely popular leader and six-time Chief Minister of the hill state. Although she did not contest the poll, she is a top contender for the job as Congress went to poll keeping her husband's name on the forefront throughout the campaigning. She represents Mandi constituency of Himachal Pradesh.
Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu is also in the race for the Chief Ministerial post. He is a former party chief and reportedly is close to Rahul Gandhi as well. So, it would not be a surprise if the high command chooses him for the top post.
Thakur Kaul Singh, a two-time party chief and former minister, is one of the favourites to occupy the post. He is a senior leader who is an 8-time MLA from Darrang constituency. His loyalty to the party is his biggest strength.
Asha Kumari is also being considered for the top post. She is a six-time MLA from Dalhousie. Sister of Chhattisgarh minister TS Singh Deo, she was reportedly in-charge of the Punjab Congress.
Mukesh Agnihotri, who is the leader of the Opposition in the current Himachal Pradesh Assembly, was a minister in the previous Congress government in the state. A four-time MLA might get the backing of Pratibha Singh.
Kaul Singh Thakur, who had served as Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Board (with Cabinet rank), is also in the race.
Congress has won 40 seats in the 68-member state assembly while the BJP secured 25 seats with independents winning three seats. Notably, the AAP failed to open the account. As far as the vote sharing is concerned, the grand old party with 43.88 per cent is only marginally ahead of the saffron party which garnered 42.99 per cent vote share.