Find out who are the three Congress CM hopefuls in Himachal Pradesh | Shimla News – Times of India

Going into battle without naming a CM face may have worked for Congress by keeping a lid on factionalism, but it has left the victors with too many aspirants for the top post.
A decision on the CM will be taken at the meeting of newly elected MLAs in Shimla, the venue being decided with new-found confidence that with 40 MLAs, Congress can hold off any horse-trading bid.
There are at least three contenders for the CM chair — Pratibha Singh, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and Mukesh Agnihotri. Three others — Kaul Singh, Ram Lal Thakur and Asha Kumari — lost the elections.
As state party president, Pratibha is credited with powering the victory along with Sukhu and Agnihotri. She had lost her first parliamentary election from Mandi in 1998 but won the seat in 2004 and the 2013 byelection, defeating BJP’s Jai Ram
Thakur. In 2014, she was defeated by BJP’s Ram Swaroop Sharma but won the bypoll held last year.
Sukhu, a former PCC chief and four-time MLA, was the campaign committee chairman. Agnihotri, as LoP, kept BJP’s Jai Ram Thakur government on the tenterhooks during the last five years by raising issues of public importance within and outside the assembly. He is a five-time MLA.
The Congress victory has strengthened the grip of the Virbhadra family in the organisation. The party fought the elections under the leadership of Pratibha, his wife, as the Congress high command knows that people of Himachal are emotionally attached to Virbhadra Singh. To cash in on the Virbhadra factor in the assembly elections, Congress had appointed Pratibha as the state president in April this year. And now that Congress has won 40 of the 68 assembly seats, a section of the party wants to see her as chief minister.
While interacting with mediapersons in Shimla on Wednesday, Pratibha had said Virbhadra’s family could not be “ignored”. “The legacy and family of Virbhadra Singh cannot be ignored. All the candidates who will win think on the same lines. This fact will be placed before the party high command and they will surely take into account all the considerations before deciding on the chief minister’s name,” she had said.
Pratibha Singh
As state party president, she is credited for its spectacular performance in the assembly election along with Sukhu and Agnihotri. She had unsuccessfully contested her first parliamentary election from Mandi parliamentary seat in 1998 but won from the same seat in 2004 and in the 2013 byelection she had defeated Jai Ram Thakur. But in 2014, she was defeated by BJP candidate Ram Swaroop Sharma. In the byelection held last year, she again won from this seat.

Pratibha Singh (PTI photo)
Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu
He was the campaign committee chairman in this election. So far, he has contested five elections and won four. He contested the first election in 2003 and won. He was elected in 2007 again but suffered defeat in 2012. He was elected again in 2017 and now in 2022. He was also appointed state Congress president in 2013.

Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu

Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu
Mukesh Agnihotri
As the leader of opposition, he kept the Jai Ram Thakur-led government on tenterhooks by raising issues of public importance within and outside the assembly. He contested his first election in 2003 and has won subsequent elections of 2007, 2012, 2017 and now in 2022.

Mukesh Agnihotri

Mukesh Agnihotri

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