Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu to take oath as Himachal Chief Minister today

The oath-taking ceremony will take place at 1.30 pm on Sunday, Raj Bhavan sources told ANI.
Himachal Pradesh CM-designate Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu
Himachal Pradesh CM-designate Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu ANI

SHIMLA: Former Congress state chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu will take oath as the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday. Mukesh Agnihotri, the leader of the opposition in the outgoing Assembly, will take oath as the Deputy Chief Minister.

The oath-taking ceremony will take place at 1.30 pm on Sunday, Raj Bhavan sources told ANI. After being chosen as the Chief Minister, the Congress leader said that he is thankful to the Congress and Gandhi family for giving him this opportunity.

Sukhu said that he is happy that despite being from an ordinary family he is going to be the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. "I am happy that I am going to be CM despite being from an ordinary family. I am thankful to the Congress party and the Gandhi family for giving me this opportunity. My mother never stopped me from being in politics. I have reached here today because of her blessings," said Sukhu.

Sukhu is a grassroots politician who has risen from the ranks and has wide organisational experience in the hill state.

A four-time MLA, Sukhu, 58, is a former chief of Congress in the state and has been part of NSUI and Youth Congress. He was the party's state unit president from 2013 to 2019 and spoke his mind even if it was not to the liking of the party's tall leader Virbhadra Singh, a six-time Chief Minister.

Sukhu has been in favour of promoting and grooming younger Congress leaders in Himachal Pradesh. Affable and approachable, Sukhu has a wide network in the hill state due to his long years in the organisation.

With Congress chief ministers over the past four decades coming from Rampur Bushahr, Congress central leadership was apparently keen to expand its choice. Pratibha Singh, wife of Virbhadra Singh, was also a strong contender for the CM post but the high command went for a leader who has been elected four times from Nadaun, a constituency in Hamirpur district.

Sukhu will be the first Congress leader from "lower Himachal" to come to the top post. That Hamirpur is represented in parliament by Union Minister Anurag Thakur might also have weighed on the Congress high command as they decided to give the mantle to Sukhu.

The other contender for the top job Mukesh Agnihotri hails from the Una district of the state and will now be Deputy Chief Minister. A loyalist of the Gandhi family, Sukhu belongs to a middle-class family. He was active in politics from his student days and fought elections as an NSUI candidate.

He was president of NSUI and the Indian Youth Congress in the state. He fought and won elections for Shimla Municipal Corporation. Sukhu won the assembly election for the first time in 2003 from Nadaun.

Sukhu was chairman of the Congress Campaign Committee for the assembly elections in which the party focused on local issues and made lucrative promises including an old pension scheme.

He will be the second chief minister from Hamirpur district after BJP's Prem Kumar Dhumal. Congress won the Assembly polls in the state, winning 40 seats.

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