After a day-long drama, Himachal Pradesh Congress leader Rajeev Shukla announced at a late-night press conference on Friday that all 40 MLAs of the party had unanimously passed a resolution to retain the decision on the selection of the state’s chief minister. at the party high command in New Delhi. “All 40 MLAs attended the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting today and all unanimously approved the proposal to leave the decision on the selection of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister to the party high command,” Shukla said.
Shukla said the one-line resolution was passed unanimously and the party observers — Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda — would submit their report to the party high command on Saturday. Refuting that there is factionalism in the Congress party as several leaders are lobbying for the post of chief minister, Shukla said no name has come up for the post of legislature party leader and the MLAs have unanimously decided that the party leadership will accept the challenge. A CLP meeting of newly elected Congress MLAs to discuss the appointment of the next Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh began in Shimla in the evening amid a show of strength by the aspirants for the post.
Chief minister hopefuls Pratibha Singh, Mukesh Agnihotri and Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu arrived for the meeting at the party office along with their supporters who raised slogans in their favour. The CLP session was scheduled to start at 3 pm but was delayed as several MLAs could not reach Shimla from distant places earlier. The party’s central observers also met the MLAs individually and sought their views on the matter.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that he has contested 12 elections and won 11 of them and knows party procedures well. “We will take everyone’s opinions and then the party will decide who is suitable for the post of chief minister. They are all competent. My observers will come and tell me about the opinions of the new legislators,” he said at the “Agenda AajTak” event. “It is not me but the elected MLAs who will decide their leader,” he said when asked if he would take the final call on the chief ministerial candidate. On Thursday, the Congress emerged victorious in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, winning 40 seats, while the BJP could only win 25 seats.
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