Boisterous mood on the Ridge as Congress makes history without Virbhadra 

| Updated: 11 December, 2022 12:01 pm IST

Congress leader and four time MLA Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who after much internal deliberation and amid fears of factionalism in the party emerged as the popular choice to take over as the Chief Minister of hill state is all set to be sworn in for the top position.

“I invite all to be the part of my swearing in ceremony today at 1.30 , Ridge , Shimla . I look forward all to grace the occasion as this win is dedicated to the people of Himachal Pradesh . Seeking the blessings and best wishes,” Sukhu tweeted.

The atmosphere at the Ridge Ground in Shimla is carnival like with supporters pouring in with huge cutouts of their new CM.

Besides, Sukhu, who is an MLA from Nadaun in Hamirpur district of the hill state, former Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri will also take oath as his deputy at the Ridge ground in Shimla. The event will be attended by party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, former party chief Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

The decision to appoint Sukhu as party Chief Ministerial candidate taken after long parleys among the members of the Congress Legislative Party meeting on Friday and Saturday.

According to party sources, to deal with the family members of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, whose wife Pratibha Singh is state unit chief and Lok Sabha MP from Mandi, the Congress had made a special plan, under which Agnihotri, who was close to Rajaji was to be made the chief minister and Sukhu and Vikramaditya Singh were to be his deputies.

Agnihotri is a Brahman leader while the state population is dominated by the  Thakurs.

After Shanta Kumar no Brahmin has ever been appointed as a CM in the state. To manage the Thakur voters in the state, the party decided to have Vikramaditya Singh, son of ex Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh as the deputy Chuef Minister. However, when offered the deputy’s post in the state, Vikramaditya dithered, source revealed.

Following this, it is learnt the party’s senior leadership changed its plan. Instead of going to Delhi and submitting its report , they joined the party chief and other top leaders virtually and put a stamp on the face of Sukhu to lead the state.

The party leadership also asked the observers and the in-charge to go with the leader who has the support of maximum MLAs in the state.

However, with very few MLAs in support of Pratibha Singh, the faction of Rajaji family has to cede space.

I N Mehta, Congress spokesperson told The New Indian that the party by appointing Sukhu as CM has given a message that even a small party worker can reach on the top post.  He also said that the role of Virbhadra Singh in making modern Himachal Pradesh cannot be ignored. He has led Himachal from the front.

 

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