Shimla: Congress observers met Himachal Pradesh Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar here Friday and shared a list of the party’s winning MLAs. The observers ‘sought time’ to formally stake claim to form the government, as the party saw hectic lobbying for the chief minister’s post. The party’s infighting once more came to the fore with supporters of Pratibha Singh blocking Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s car. Pratibha is one of the strong contenders for the Himachal Pradesh chief minister’s post.
Pratibha, Congress MP and wife of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, has already indicated that she is in the running for the top job. Some Congress workers raised slogans in support of Pratibha, who is also the state party chief.
Former Himachal Pradesh chief of the party Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and outgoing legislature party leader Mukesh Agnihotri are also believed to among the frontrunners for the chief minister’s post.
The Congress wrested power from the BJP in the hill state winning 40 of the 68 assembly seats. Now however, the differences within the party are once more in the limelight.
At the MLAs’ meeting which will be held soon, the Congress is expected to pass a resolution authorising the party president to pick the legislature party leader who will be the next chief minister.
The Congress observers — Baghel and former chief minister of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda and AICC in-charge for Himachal Pradesh Rajeev Shukla met the governor and submitted a list of the party’s winning candidates.
Senior Haryana Congress leader Karan Singh Dalal was also a part of the Congress delegation which met the governor. He told this agency that they gave the list to the governor and told him, “We have come to seek your time to present our credentials to form government in the state. The Congress has won the Assembly polls with a majority.”
Before the observers went to meet the governor, their vehicle was surrounded for a few minutes by the supporters Pratibha near a hotel. The supporters raised slogans saying that the chief minister should be from the family of Virbhadra Singh. Similar sloganeering was witnessed outside the Congress office.
Earlier, the Congress observers and Shukla met Pratibha at a hotel. Pratibha, 66, has indicated that she is in the running for the chief minister’s post, a point also made by her son. “I am not in the race for the top post but my mother is one of the contenders for the post of chief minister,” her son and Congress MLA from Shimla Rural Vikramaditya Singh said.
“A meeting of all winning MLAs has been convened and the final decision would be taken by the high command which would be acceptable to all,” Vikramaditya added. Replying to a question, Vikramaditya said, “Whatever the high command decides will be acceptable to all of us. Post is not important for us. The promises we made to people are important. We have to fulfil them and we are committed to that.”
Shukla had said Thursday that the Congress was happy that it is getting an opportunity to form the government in Himachal Pradesh. He asserted that the party will do everything to fulfil the 10 guarantees made to the people of Himachal Pradesh and would provide better governance to people.