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Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu likely to be next Himachal CM: Congress sources


NEW DELHI: Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu who headed the Congress campaign committee in Himachal Pradesh is likely to be the next chief minister, party sources said on Saturday.

The sources said the party high command has cleared the name of Sukhu, the 58-year-old MLA from Nadaun in Hamirpur district, for the top job.

The new chief minister is likely to take oath Sunday, they said.

Mukesh Agnihotri, the leader of the opposition in the outgoing Assembly, is likely to be the deputy chief minister, the sources said.

The names were finalised by the party leadership following deliberations with the MLAs over two days amid hectic lobbying by aspirants, including state Congress chief Pratibha Singh, the wife of Virbhadra Singh, the sources said.

Sukhu, a former president of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, is a four-term legislator and is considered close to party leader Rahul Gandhi, they said.

He was known as a detractor of Congress veteran and six-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh, according to the sources.

Sukhu is likely to be elected as the Congress Legislature Party leader at a meeting of newly elected party MLAs in Shimla Saturday evening. This will be the second meeting of the legislature party in 24 hours.

In their meeting Friday evening, the MLAs had unanimously passed a resolution authorising the party president to pick the legislature party leader, who will be the next chief minister.

All three chief ministerial hopefuls had reached the party office in state capital Shimla on Friday evening for the CLP meeting along with their supporters, who raised slogans in their favour.

The Congress wrested power from the BJP in the hill state winning 40 of the 68 assembly seats. The polling was held on November 12 and the results were declared Thursday. (PTI)

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