Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu
Sukhwinder Singh SukhuIANS (File photo)

Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu to be next Himachal CM

Shimla, December 10, 2022

Four-time legislator Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu will be the next Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and Mukesh Agnihotri the Deputy Chief Minister.

They will be sworn in here at 11 am on Sunday, with the induction of other Ministers to be done later.

Sukhu, 58, who is known for his proximity with the Gandhi family, was named leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), following two days of talks by AICC state in-charge Rajiv Shukla, after his appointment was approved by Mallikarjun Kharge.

Sukhu, who has the support of a majority of Congress lawmakers, emerged from the three candidates in the fray for the chief ministerial post after the party won a majority in the 68-member Assembly by bagging 40 seats.

Pratibha Singh, the wife of Virbhadra Singh, and four-time legislator Mukesh Agnihotri, were the front-runners for the top job.

Earlier, the CLP attended by 40 Congress members on Friday evening, authorised Kharge to appoint its leader. Shukla made the announcement of their appointment after the CLP meeting, the second one on the second day.

Party observers -- Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda and Shukla -- on Friday met Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar to hand over the list of Congress MLAs showing that the party had the strength to form the government.

Sukhu began his career in student politics and rose to the position of party state unit chief from 2013 to 2019.

Hailing from Nadaun in Hamirpur district, Sukhu, who is known in political circles for not sharing cordial relations with six-time chief minister late Virbhadra Singh, has served the National Student Union of India (NSUI), the party's student wing, during his college days.

He was elected president of its state unit in 1989.

From 1998-2008, Sukhu, who is known for his proximity with former Union Minister Anand Sharma, also served as the president of the state Youth Congress.

Before joining the state politics, he twice served as councillor in the Municipal Corporation of Shimla from 1992 and 2002.

In the just concluded assembly elections, he headed the election campaign committee.

Journalist-turned-politician Mukesh Agnihotri, 60, retained his stronghold Haroli in Una district, the seat from which he was elected thrice earlier -- in 2007, 2012 and 2017.

Polling in the state assembly elections was held in a single phase on November 12. Counting of votes was taken up on December 8, annd the Congress got an absolute majority with 40 seats, six more than the half-way mark of 34 in the 68-member House. The BJP, which was in power for the last five years, was reduced to 25.


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