Congress workers in Himachal Pradesh blocked and stopped the convoy of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in a show of support for Pratibha Singh, who is one of the frontrunner for the Chief Minister’s position. The people of Himachal, in their verdict, gave a green signal to Congress on Thursday.
The video showed that Singh’s followers gathered outside Oberoi Cecil in Shimla and stopped CM Baghel’s car, one of the central leaders, who have been sent to Himachal to decide on a Chief Minister candidate. The worker were seen raising slogans like: “Humara CM kaisa ho, Rani sahiba jaisa ho".
#WATCH | Himachal Pradesh: State Congress chief Pratibha Singh's supporters gathered outside Oberoi Cecil hotel in Shimla showcasing their support to her while stopping Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel's carcade. pic.twitter.com/jzGV2MmUud— ANI (@ANI) December 9, 2022
In a video, the workers were seen surrounding Mr Baghel’s car and raising slogans in favour of Pratibha Singh, a Congress MP who led the party’s Himachal Pradesh campaign but didn’t contest the polls.
Congress observers, who were sent to Himachal, met Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar on Friday, ahead of a meeting of the newly elected MLAs.
Who Is Pratibha Singh
One of the faces being seen as the frontrunners for the chief ministerial post is Himachal Pradesh Congress president Pratibha Singh, who is also the wife of former CM Virbhadra Singh.
It is pertinent to note that Pratibha Singh, an MP from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, did not contesting the assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh. However, she could stake claim to the top post in the state as the Congress used the face of Virbhadra Singh throughout its campaign. At the time of writing this report, the BJP was leading in the Assembly segment from this area.
MLAs Expected To Pass Resolution Soon
The MLAs are expected to pass a resolution authorising the party president to pick the legislature party leader who will be the next chief minister.
Earlier, the Congress observers — Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and former chief minister of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda — and AICC in-charge for Himachal Pradesh Rajeev Shukla met state Congress chief Pratibha Singh at a hotel.
Singh Confirmed Move For CM Post
Pratibha Singh, Congress MP and the wife of former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, 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 told PTI.
“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," he added.
Congress Won With 40 Seats
The Congress on Thursday won 40 seats in the 68-member Assembly in the hill state which maintained its tradition of not voting any incumbent government to power since 1985.
Hooda, who arrived in Shimla on Friday, met the governor along with Baghel and Shukla.
Hooda later said they have informed the governor that the party has the majority and will seek a formal meeting with him later to stake claim to form the government.
Deciding on the chief minister who can bind the party going forward is the immediate challenge for the Congress.
Pratibha Singh is considered a key frontrunner for the chief minister’s post, closely followed by former party chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and outgoing legislature party leader Mukesh Agnihotri.
‘Collective Will of MLAs Will Be Kept in Mind’
Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh told reporters here that “collective will of MLAs will be kept in mind and then observers will convey the same to the high command".
Replying to a question, Singh said, “Whatever the high command decides will be acceptable to all of us." “Post is not important for us. What is important is the promises we made to people we have to fulfil them and we are committed to that," he said.
Govt Will Form In Two-Three Days: Rajeev Shukla
He said the government will be formed in two-three days. Shukla had on Thursday said the Congress was happy that it is getting an opportunity to form the government in the state and asserted that the party will do everything to fulfil the 10 guarantees made to the people of the state and would provide better governance to people.
“The newly elected Congress MLAs would meet in Shimla on Friday post-election results and decide on electing the new legislature party leader," Shukla had told PTI on Thursday.
Sources said the MLAs are likely to pass a one-line resolution authorising Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge to decide the CLP leader. This has been the tradition in the Congress party, they said.
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