CLP meeting in Himachal authorises Congress leadership to decide on CM face

In a video, Congress workers were seen surrounding Baghel’s car and raising slogans in favour of Pratibha Singh, wife of former Chief Minister Virbhardra Singh, who died last year. 

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By: Anand Singh
Updated: 09 December, 2022 11:53 pm IST

With much drama throughout the day, the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting took place at party headquarters in Shimla where a single line resolution was passed mandating the senior leadership to decide on the new Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.

Earlier during the day, the Congress tackled chaos as its workers raised slogans and blocked Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s car in an aggressive show of support for state unit chief chief Pratibha Singh, who is a frontrunner for Chief Minister.

The meeting was scheduled at 12 noon, later deferred till 3 p.m. But the meeting had to be again deferred till 6 p.m. as some of the MLAs were yet to arrive in Shimla.

Finally, the meeting took place at 8 p.m. where party observers Baghel, former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Himachal Pradesh Congress unit chief Pratibha Singh, state in-charge Rajiv Shukla and all newly appointed MLAs were present.

According to party sources, the CLP passed a one line resolution authorizing senior leadership of the party to select the new chief minister.

Earlier in the day, Pratibha Singh’s supporters gathered outside the meeting venue at the Oberoi Cecil in Shimla, and stopped the convoy of Baghel.

In a video, Congress workers were seen surrounding Baghel’s car and raising slogans in favour of Pratibha Singh, wife of former Chief Minister Virbhardra Singh, who died last year.

The Congress has fought elections on Virbhadra Singh’s name, who hails from the royal family of Rampur-Bushahr near Shimla. Pratibha Singh also said that her family cannot be ignored in the state for the top post as elections were fought on her husband’s name.

Senior party leader Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, journalist turned politician Mukesh Agnihotri are other contenders for the top job besides Pratibha Singh.

Even Harshvardhan Chauhan name is also doing the rounds for the top post in the hill state.

Pratibha Singh, a three-time MP from Himachal Pradesh. She won last year in by-polls and was made the state unit chief earlier this year. Her son Vikramidtya Singh is a two time MLA from Shimla Rural, a seat which Virbhadra Singh represented.

Supporters in Himachal Pradesh also draw an emotional connection with Pratibha Singh, who is popularly called “Rani”, arguing that “votes were sought in Raja sahib’s (Virbhadra Singh) name”.

The party sources said that the name of Pratibha Singh might be dropped as the party has to face two by-elections in the state.

If Pratibha Singh resigns from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, the party feels that it would be tough for the party to win in by-polls as the party lost nine out of 10 assembly seats.

And even one of the MLAs had to resign to pave way for Pratibha Singh to contest in assembly by-polls.

Thus, the party is planning the idea of giving a senior cabinet berth to the post of Deputy Chief Minister in Himachal, the source added.

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