After two days of intense lobbying and speculation, the Congress is likely to announce Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu as the next Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, sources said Saturday. A meeting of the Congress Legislature Party is set to take place in Shimla soon where the decision of the Congress high command will be announced.
Sources said the high command has approved Sukhu as the Chief Minister but the announcement will be made by the central observers after talking to Himachal Pradesh Congress President Pratibha Singh, who was in the race for the post.
Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, a three-time MLA from the Nadaun constituency in Himachal Pradesh and the head of the Congress’s election committee in the state, had emerged as one of the three candidates in the fray for the chief ministerial post following the party’s win in Thursday’s Assembly elections.
The other two leaders considered in contention for the post were Leader of the Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri and Pratibha Singh, current Himachal PCC chief and the wife of former CM Virbhadra Singh.
The 58-year-old leader has been able to develop a support base among locals and the party cadre over the years. His position in the party was evident with him heading the election campaign committee for the assembly polls.Like many other leaders, Sukhu began his career in student politics and went on to rise to the position of state unit chief.
A Nadaun native, Sukhu obtained a degree in law. He went on to join the Congress’s student wing NSUI and was elected president of its state unit in 1989. Between 1998-2008, he also served as the president of the state youth Congress. Sukhu was elected twice as a councilor of the municipal corporation of Shimla in the period between 1992 and 2002.
After stints with the youth Congress, he became the secretary of the Pradesh Congress Committee in 2008. Known for his time-management skills and popularity, Sukhu was made president of the party in 2013. He contested his first Assembly election in 2003 from Nadaun, winning the seat in 2007 and 2017.