Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has been selected by the Congress to serve as the next chief minister of Himachal Pradesh after two days of heavy lobbying and rumours. Mukesh Agnihotri, the leader of the opposition in the departing Assembly, who was also a candidate for the top position, would act as the deputy chief executive.
The decision of the Congress high leadership was made public at a Congress Legislature Party meeting in Shimla.
Earlier, sources claimed that the high command had approved Sukhu for the position of Chief Minister, but that the central observers would make the announcement after interacting with Pratibha Singh, the president of the Himachal Pradesh Congress, who was also vying for the position.
After the Congress won the Assembly elections on Thursday, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, a three-time MLA from the Himachal Pradesh district of Nadaun and the leader of the party’s election committee in the state, emerged as one of the three candidates for the position of chief minister.
Over the years, the 58-year-old leader has been successful in building a base of support among the community and the party cadre. His leadership of the election campaign committee for the assembly elections demonstrated his status inside the party.
Sukhu, like many other politicians, got his start in student council before moving up to become the state unit chief.
Sukhu, a native of Nadaun, graduated with a law degree. He afterwards joined the NSUI, the student wing of the Congress, and was chosen as the organization’s state unit president in 1989. He also presided over the state youth Congress from 1998 to 2008. Between 1992 and 2002, Sukhu was elected twice to the Shimla municipal corporation’s council. 2008 saw him take on the role of secretary of the Pradesh Congress Committee after spells with the young Congress. Sukhu, who is well-liked and well-known for managing his time, was elected party president in 2013. He ran for the Assembly for the first time in 2003 from Nadaun, winning in 2007 and 2017.
In the southwest Himachal district of Haroli, Mukesh Agnihotri ran for office. He was chosen to lead the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) during the 2017 Assembly elections. Before entering politics, Agnihotri spent more than a decade working as a journalist, during which time he also participated in committees such as the Government Pahari Language Committee and the Himachal State Press Advisory Committee.
In 2003, Agnihotri ran for office for the first time from the Santokgarh Assembly seat in the Una district. From this district, he was re-elected in 2007. In the 2012 and 2017 Assembly elections, he won from the Haroli constituency, which was formerly known as Santokhgarh.
Agnihotri has actively led the Congress in the House as the LoP, bringing up important topics like unemployment, price hikes, and corruption to put the Jairam Thakur-led BJP administration on the defensive before the Assembly elections that are scheduled for next month.
By winning 40 of the 68 assembly seats, the Congress deposed the BJP in the mountainous state. Election day was November 12 and results were announced on December 8.