Himachal Congress Legislature Party to meet again Saturday amid intense lobbying for CM's post

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Himachal Pradesh Congress chief Pratibha Singh, party leader Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu after the Congress Legislature Party meeting, at the party office, in Shimla on Friday | Photo: ANI

Shimla: Newly elected Congress MLAs will meet Saturday evening for a second time in 24 hours as the party attempts to pick a consensus candidate for the chief minister's post amid hectic lobbying by aspirants.

The Congress Legislature Party meeting will be held in the assembly complex Saturday evening, party MLA from Kullu Sunder Singh Thakur told reporters here.

Some progress is expected, he added.

In their meeting Friday evening, the MLAs had unanimously passed a resolution authorising the party president to pick the legislature party leader, who will be the next chief minister.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge earlier said the party observers sent to the hill state were seeking views of all party legislators individually and they would convey to him their opinions, based on which the party would take a decision on the chief ministerial candidate.

The Congress wrested power from the BJP in the hill state winning 40 of the 68 assembly seats. The polling was held on November 12 and the results were declared Thursday.

Intense lobbying continued for the chief minister's post on Saturday. From morning itself, Congress MLAs made a beeline to Cecil Hotel in Shimla where the party's central observers -- Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda -- and AICC in-charge for Himachal Pradesh Rajeev Shukla have put up.

Several leaders including state Congress Chief Pratibha Singh, leader of the opposition in the outgoing Assembly Mukesh Agnihotri and head of the election campaign committee Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, who are believed to be the frontrunners for the top post, met the observers individually.

For Friday's Congress Legislature Party meeting, these three leaders reached the party office in state capital Shimla along with their supporters, who raised slogans in their favour.

Speaking to mediapersons on Saturday, Sukhu maintained, "I am not a chief minister aspirant. I am just a Congress worker and whatever decision the high command would take would be accepted."

On Friday, the observers and Shukla met Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar and submitted a list of the party's winning MLAs to the Governor and "sought time" to formally stake claim to form the government.


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