Himachal Pradesh: Crucial party meet authorises Kharge to pick CM

Pratibha Singh, Congress MP and the wife of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, has indicated that she is in the running for the chief minister's post. 

Pratibha Singh, Himachal
A Congress MP, Pratibha Singh is the wife of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh

A crucial Congress Legislature Party late Friday meeting authorised Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge to appoint the new Chief Minister in Himachal Pradesh amid bickering over the chief minister’s choice after the party won the Assembly polls.

Earlier, in clear signs of trouble, supporters of chief ministerial aspirants resorted to protests and sources say a consensus is unlikely. The MLAs are expected to pass a resolution authorising the party president to pick the legislature party leader who will be the next chief minister.

Congress observers — Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and former chief minister of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda — and AICC in-charge for Himachal Pradesh Rajeev Shukla met state Congress chief Pratibha Singh at a hotel.

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Pratibha Singh, Congress MP and the wife of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, has indicated that she is in the running for the chief minister’s post.

Reports say Pratibha Singh’s supporters even stopped the convoy of Bhupesh Baghel in Simla, putting pressure on the leadership to make her the new chief minister.

The CLP meet was to happen at 3 pm earlier. Pratibha’s supporters, who have been gathering at the party office since morning, had created a ruckus when Baghel and Hooda arrived for the party meeting.

If a stalemate continues, Priyanka Gandhi, who is at Ranthambore on a private visit to celebrate Sonia Gandhi’s 76th birthday, is likely to have one-on-one discussions with all MLAs as well as talk to Pratibha, now emerging as a lead contender for the CM post.

Other frontrunners in the CM race are: Haroli MLA Mukesh Agnihotri, Nadaun MLA Sukhwinder Sukhu and Shillai MLA Harshwardhan Chauhan.

Also read: Rajasthan mutiny exposes flaws fundamental to Congress leadership

The Congress on Thursday won 40 seats in the 68-member Assembly in the hill state which maintained its tradition of not voting any incumbent government to power since 1985.

Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh said “collective will of MLAs will be kept in mind and then observers will convey the same to the high command”.

He said the government will be formed in two-three days.

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