Foreseeing win, Himachal Congress leaders reach Delhi for CM chair
As the results of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections are a fortnight away, the top leaders of Congress's state unit, foreseeing a win, are camping in Delhi reportedly to secure the chief ministerial post. The Congress is confident of winning 42 to 46 Assembly seats out of the total 68 and is in touch with independent MLAs, too, a senior party leader told ANI.
Why does this story matter?
- The grand old party's internal survey shows it could secure a majority in Himachal Pradesh, which has led more leaders to jump into the race for the CM chair.
- Some surveys, however, showed the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returning to power despite losing some vote share.
- In the 2017 elections, the BJP won 44 of 68 seats, while the Congress won 21 seats.
Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu meeting senior leaders in Delhi
Former HP Congress Committee president and a strongman from the Thakur community, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, is reportedly meeting Congress's top brass in Delhi, eyeing the CM post. He also served as the chief of the Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India (NSUI). Sukhu wasn't on good terms with former CM Virbhadra Singh, whose wife and son are also in the fray.
Pratibha Singh, Vikramaditya planning to go to Delhi
After becoming HP's CM in 1983, Virbhadra dominated the Congress's state unit and clinched the chair every time the party came to power. Now, his wife and Congress MP from Mandi, Pratibha Singh, is planning to visit the national capital along with her MLA son Vikramaditya. Pratibha became the state unit's president even before elections, while Vikramaditya has been fielded for the second time.
Asha Kumari also in the fray
The Singhs belong to the state's royal family. But Vikramaditya's negligible administrative experience could hold him down from reaching the CM's chair. Former state cabinet minister and six-time MLA from Dalhousie, Asha Kumari, also belongs to a royal family and the Thakur caste. She also wasn't on good terms with Virbhadra. If she wins a seventh term now, she could claim the CM post.
Kumari is TS Singh Deo's sister
Notably, Kumari is the sister of TS Singh Deo, the health minister of Chhattisgarh and a Congress leader. The party's high command allegedly promised him the Chhattisgarh CM's chair for the second half of its regime but didn't fulfill it.
Meanwhile, BJP sacks 12 rebel Gujarat leaders
Separately, the BJP suspended 12 of its leaders who rebelled after not receiving a ticket and are contesting as independents in the Gujarat elections. The rebel leaders include two former legislators and six-time MLA Madhu Shrivastav. After Congress denied fielding Kamini Baa Rathore, a former MLA from Gujarat's Dehgam constituency, she jumped ship to join the BJP and withdrew her nomination as an independent.